By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — An American River College student who relies on an iPad to talk was nearly silenced by a thief, but teachers rallied to give him a voice again.

Blain Bowman likes a good laugh. His disability makes talking nearly impossible.

But his iPad changes everything.

“My iPad is my voice, so it is very important to me,” he said through the device.

He can use audio through the iPad or just type his message with a $249 app.

But this week, someone stole the iPad right out of the wheelchair-bound student’s lap as he was waiting for class. The man grabbed it and ran.

Blaine’s response? He chased after the suspect. The bad guy would get away with his main way of communicating with the world.

Police came to help him, and even though they couldn’t find the thief, they didn’t give up.

“I sent out an email, made some phone calls, and by noon the next day, the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers responded promptly,” said Los Rios Police Chief Cheryl Sears. “By noon the next day, the student had a new iPad.”

That’s right, in less than a day, Blain had an iPad again.

“I was totally shocked, and would like to personally thank all the faculty that had a hand in it,” he said.

Now Blaine has his voice back with a message for the thief.

“I can’t say what I would really want on TV, but I would tell him to think before you act,” he said.

Police and teachers on campus aren’t finished helping him quite yet. They want to buy a device that will lock his iPad to his wheelchair to prevent another cowardly crook from stealing this one.

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