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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Bookstore singles out shoplifters

Shoplifting from the UofA Bookstore may seem like an easy task, but students should think twice before walking out with items they did not pay for.

“”It’s like any other store, there’s going to be people wanting to get something for free or without paying for it,”” said Sgt. Juan Alvarez, the public information officer with the University of Arizona Police Department.

To thwart would-be shoplifters, the bookstore employs a team of specialists who monitor the store at all time.

“”We have a security team of highly trained people who have their own room with surveillance security cameras,”” said Kurtis Durfey, marketing specialist for the bookstore. “”These Loss Prevention team security employees are trained to spot potential shoplifters, and watch for body language that can indicate you’re not really there to buy something.””  

They have been there since the bookstore’s renovation in 2003, according to Joseph Contreras, program aide for the Loss Prevention team.

Once a Loss Prevention team specialist catches a potential shoplifter or notices irregular behavior, the procedure begins. Shoplifters on campus are usually caught inside the bookstore or just outside of it, according to Alvarez. Then UAPD handles it from there.

“”Generally it’ll be a misdemeanor charge, depending on the item stolen,”” Alvarez said. “”They will be given a citation and a date to appear in court, usually with a large fine to pay.””  

Consequences also depend on the shoplifters’ reaction and behavior, according to Alvarez.

“”If a shoplifter runs, becomes combative or is uncooperative, and depending on what the officer chooses, they can be taken to jail,”” he said.

Shoplifting is typically charged as petty or grand theft, depending on the value of the item taken. According to the Associated Students of the University of Arizona legal services website, misdemeanors are less serious crimes, but students could still face serious consequences if they do not take their citation seriously.

Alvarez says most tickets are $1,200, “”but it really depends on what you stole and on the judge.”” Some judges may choose to waive the ticket, or lessen it to smaller payments made over a period of time, he explained.

One of the most common times for catching a shoplifter is during the time the bookstore does used textbook buy-backs, according to UAPD.

“”A book will be turned in, and they can see if they’re stolen,”” Alvarez said.

According  to UAPD public records, shoplifters target things as inexpensive as pens and as pricey as clothing.

A student was arrested on Oct. 19 after she tried to take a ruler and masking tape without paying for them. She was cited for shoplifting and released at the scene, and all stolen items were returned. She was caught on video surveillance attempting to leave the bookstore without paying for the items. The student could not be reached for comment as of press time. A copy of the receipt for the items — which were valued at $10.90 in total — was placed into UAPD property as evidence.

A similar incident occurred on Sept. 3, when a student tried to take a UA jersey without paying for it before he was stopped by security immediately outside of the front doors. The individual, who was unable to be contacted, was cited and released from the scene. Photographs were taken of the item he tried to steal and placed into UAPD evidence, along with a copy of the receipt and security camera footage.

The most common items stolen from the bookstore are school supplies, specifically staplers and staples, according to Contreras.

“”I guess students think since the items are of little expense, that there’s less consequence,”” he added.

“”It’s a matter of knowing right from wrong,”” Alvarez said. “”And shoplifters know what they did was wrong.””

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