Family speaks out: Child’s $15k communication tablet stolen, JPD seeking tips and donations

Family upset after child's device stolen

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Whoever broke into a car last week stole more than just a tablet. They stole a young child’s only means of communicating with her family.

On Jan. 21, someone broke into a vehicle on Pine Acres Lane stole a $15,000 communications device and other gadgets. In total, the criminal stole around $18,000 from the family.

Stephanie Hayes woke up Thursday morning to her disbelief. Her car had been vandalized.

She had worked ahead the night before to prepare for the next day’s trip to St. Louis. Her daughter, Lexi Wertenberger had an appointment scheduled.

“I just left it in there because I know it was late by the time we got home. I was just going to leave it in there so I knew where it was at.”

Lexi has Rett syndrome which impacts her speech and her hand movements. This device is her only way to communicate.

“It’s the only way for her to communicate with her eyes,” she said.

Since Thursday, she’s noticed Lexie has been a little lost without her device. She is reverting to using stickers to communicate.

Lexi’s communication device displays 50 options at one time for her. Now they’re reverting back to only four options for Lexi to choose from at one time.

“As a parent, I feel like I let her down because I was doing this,” she said.

UPDATE: GoFundMe posted in comments for those who would like to donate to this family! JPD is overseeing payment on the...

Posted by Jonesboro Police Department on Monday, January 25, 2021

JPD shared a video of the alleged suspect in the hopes of someone identifying the culprit and helping to return the device to the family.

Stephanie said her car insurance will not cover the lost communication device. So far, she has not heard back from her homeowner’s insurance.

Anyone with information on the crime or the possible suspect should call Crimestoppers at 935-STOP (7867).

Police encouraged everyone to remain on the lookout for the tablet on Facebook Marketplace, local pawn shops, or elsewhere.

The department is also overseeing a GoFundMe page created to help replace the valuable device. To make a donation, click here.

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