Kenneth Kahn, also known as Kenny the Clown, says he unwittingly received the stolen tablet from a friend who was later arrested for breaking into the Jobs residence in Palo Alto, the San Jose Mercury News reported on Friday.
“It would be like getting a football from Joe Montana that was stolen out of his house,” Kahn said. “If this thing weren’t so tragic, it would be comical.”
Kahn said he had the iPad for a few days before police came asking for the purloined tablet, which was returned to the Jobs family.
The professional entertainer said he never examined the device’s contents. Instead he downloaded the “Pink Panther” and other songs to play while entertaining kids and tourists during his clown routine.
Kahn said had no idea where the 64GB iPad came from until his friend, 35-year-old Kariem McFarlin of Alameda, was arrested on August 2.
Apple investigators identified McFarlin after he used his iTunes account to connect to the internet with the stolen devices, police said. He confessed to police that he broke into Jobs’ residence, as well as other homes, and wrote an apology letter to Jobs’ widow, according to the police report.
McFarlin targeted the unoccupied Palo Alto home on July 17 because it was under renovation, authorities said. When construction crews left, he hopped a fence and found a spare key, according to the Mercury News. The suspect apparently didn’t realise he was in Jobs’ house until he saw a letter addressed to the Silicon Valley icon.
During a 15-hour overnight heist, the suspect took Jobs’ wallet and driver’s licence as well as iPhones, iPads, iPods, Mac computers, Cristal Champagne and $US60,000 ($A57,300) worth of Tiffany jewellery.
McFarlin sold some of the jewellery to a Pennsylvania dealer and gave the iPads to a daughter and a friend, according to the report.
Kahn, who unsuccessfully ran for mayor in Alameda and San Francisco, met McFarlin when he coached him on a high school basketball team in Alameda more than a decade ago.
“He’s a nice guy who made a horrible, horrible decision,” Kahn said. “Before the public sees him as this horrible monster, I’d like to hopefully think we can somehow get across that he just made the worst mistake of his life.”
McFarlin remains jailed on $US500,000 bail and is expected to appear in court on Monday. If convicted, he faces almost eight years in prison.
The Santa Clara County Public Defender’s office, officially representing McFarlin, declined to comment, according to the Mercury News. McFarlin has recently hired a private attorney who wants to remain anonymous until Monday’s hearing.