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San Francisco principal nabs suspected iPad thief

Talk about a couple of iHeroes.

No one is happy to have their Apple products stolen. But when 3 or 4 iPads started going missing at a time from St. Ignatius High School in San Francisco, principal Patrick Ruff took it personally – and wound up chasing the alleged thief across campus in a hot-footed pursuit.

“My adrenaline was going,” said Ruff, 43, of the chase that crisscrossed a campus sports field on Thursday. “The students realized I was chasing someone, it was kind of like a movie. It was something else, a crazy event.”

Ruff said the whole caper started when iPads started disappearing several at a time. The school’s dean of students conducted an investigation, Ruff said. Armed with a description obtained from students of the suspected perpetrator, administrators stopped Gabriel Ruiz Vega, 27, on campus Thursday.

“I asked him why he was on campus and his answers weren’t making sense,” Bill Gotch, the dean of students, told NBC Bay Area.

“When we said we were going to call the police, he took off,” Ruff said. “He threw his bag out because it was slowing him down while I was running after him.”

Ruff, who said he exercises regularly, kept up as the man fled, pulling him down as he tried to clamber over an 8-foot fence.

“I have a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old, and they keep me fit,” Ruff said.

Police said they recovered seven iPads and a wallet from Vega’s bag, NBC Bay Area reported.

Students applauded as police took the man away, Ruff said.

But one person wasn’t impressed by her husband’s newfound hero status.

“My wife was not happy. When I got home she asked, 'Why are you doing that? You might get hurt!'” said Ruff. “She was just worried, but I’m sure she would have done the same. I didn’t even think about it at the moment. I believe other people would have done the same.”

On Friday night, the students dressed up as super heroes for their school dance. Principal Patrick Ruff's face was glued to a mock-up of Superman.