kenneth-kahn

Clown who had Steve Jobs' iPad isn't laughing about theft

Aug. 17, 2012 at 1:52 PM ET

Courtesy of Kenneth Kahn /
Kenneth Kahn, in a photo he shares on Facebook.

The clown who received Steve Jobs' stolen iPad isn't laughing about what happened. Kenneth Kahn, who professionally goes by "Kenny the Clown," said in an interview with TODAY.com that he was horrified when he learned not only that the iPad he'd gotten was stolen, but stolen from Jobs' home.

"I'm a big admirer of Steve Jobs," Kahn, 47, told TODAY.com Friday. Kahn said he got the iPad from suspected thief Kariem McFarlin in lieu of money that McFarlin, whom he described as a friend, owed him.

"He owed me $300 ... so it was just kind of a trade-out," said Kahn. "I thought he bought a new one (iPad) ... and had one that he was selling — I did not really think anything," Kahn said. "The last thought on my mind is that it was from Steve Jobs' house."

McFarlin, 35, of Alameda, was arrested Aug. 2 and charged with residential burglary and selling stolen property. He remains in jail, with bail set at $500,000 pending a court hearing Monday. According to a previous news report, authorities said they think McFarlin didn't know it was Steve Jobs' home that he'd broken into. Kahn's receipt of the stolen iPad was first reported by the Silicon Valley MercuryNews.com.

Kahn told TODAY.com that he had the iPad for "a couple of days" before police confiscated it, and that he didn't really use it much.

Asked if Jobs' personal files were on the iPad, Kahn said, "I didn't see traces of where (McFarlin) had been using it, much less anyone else. I'm not the most technical person in the world." He admits that while he "can get on the Internet," he's not one for rooting around devices. He also said he'd never had an iPad before.

Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office /
35-year-old Kariem McFarlin, of Alameda, Calif.

McFarlin, Kahn said, "is just a really nice guy, he was nice to everybody ... This whole thing came as a shock. Pretty much everybody knows him. We're not talking about a guy who's got a long criminal history — it's more like he went off a cliff. He's very respectful, very nice."

Kahn says McFarlin, who faces up to eight years in prison if he's convicted, is a "good person who made a tragic decision."

"It's still kind of a shock," said Kahn. "Because to me, he's the last guy in the world who would do this kind of thing."

When McFarlin was arrested, he called Kahn to let him know that and that the police would be paying Kahn a visit to pick up the iPad. He still didn't know at that point it was Jobs' iPad. 

Kahn said he met McFarlin when Kahn was a volunteer basketball coach at Encinal High School in Alameda, Calif. Kahn said in addition to being a clown, he is also a substitute teacher with the Alameda Unified School District. He has been a substitute teacher for more than 20 years, mainly high school — "P.E., math, science," among other subjects.

Kahn is the caretaker for his 92-year-old father, with whom he lives.

His real love is the life of a clown — "I do animal balloons, juggle, ride a unicycle," and he performs mainly at birthday parties, fairs and festivals. He's got some YouTube videos up, including one where he gets laughs from riders on BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit).

Kahn said that the whole experience has been "surreal." 

"I was thinking worst-case scenario that (McFarlin) had bought it from a fence without knowing it was stolen, or maybe at worst he knew it was stolen — then when I saw the report, I was like whoa whoa whoa, double whoa, triple whoa, and then, it wasn't even a whoa — it was a wow."

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