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BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — Former airline workers have been charged with intercepting nearly 350 Apple computers, many of which were bound for school districts in remote areas of western Alaska.

A federal grand jury last week indicted six ex-employees of Ravn Alaska airline on mail theft and conspiracy charges, KYUK-AM reported .

The ramp agents at the Anchorage airport stole $489,000 in mailed merchandise from March 2015 to April 2017, according to authorities.

At least 16 of the stolen computers were intended for the Lower Yukon School District, according to court documents.

District Superintendent Ron Picou said he wasn’t aware of the thefts until last week.

“I was surprised as everybody else when I read it in the paper,” Picou said.

Because mail delays are common for the remote area, the missing computers didn’t raise suspicion. Picou said the district contacted Apple and had more computers sent. The district didn’t lose money from the theft.

“Just like any vendor, when you buy something you don’t pay for it until it arrives,” Picou said.

The Bering Strait School District and St. Marys City Schools also had a number of computer stolen from the mail, according to authorities. Computers intended for the Kuspuk School District may have been targeted as well because the district falls on the same air freight and mail route, according to court documents.


Information from: KYUK-AM,