Thief strikes bookstore

An investigation is under way for a recent string of thefts in the MCCC Bookstore between March 3 – 10.

According to the police report filed by Monroe County Deputy Jason Peters, a recent inventory check made by Bookstore Director Jean Ford found that $8,000 in inventory was missing from the store in the past three weeks.

The suspect is described as a white male, 5’10”, 180 lbs., with brown hair and brown eyes. Ford does not suspect him to be a student, because he was in the store at a time when very few students were on campus.

“It’s just a feeling that I have; I could be totally wrong,” Ford said.

During this period, no students were working in the store, she said, because it was during spring break.

A photo of the suspect from video footage was sent via e-mail to staff members, but he has yet to be identified.

Authorities are having difficulty identifying the subject, because he is believed to have left in three different vehicles, Ford said. The license plate numbers for each could not be obtained. Each time, he entered the back seat. The front seats were occupied by two other individuals.

On March 3, a delivery person advised Ford that he had witnessed a male stealing a book from the store.

Ford recognized the subject. He had previously been coming to the store and documenting book information and prices.

Ford reviewed video footage from that week. She found that on March 5, the same subject came into the store with a backpack on his back. He walked to the back of the store, and left with two backpacks that Ford said appeared to be full of books.

The following Tuesday, the suspect came into the store. Ford approached him and spoke to him about the current book sales. Ford does not believe that he took anything during this time, but she is not sure.

The next day Bookstore Associate Annette Russell witnessed the subject walk into the store, place a book down his pants, and walk out. Russell and Ann Gerweck, another associate, followed him out of the store after calling security. When a security vehicle arrived, he exited the building through a different entrance. Russell and Gerweck, who declined comment, did not follow him.

The theft has caused the store to stiffen security measures, Ford said. Security personnel will be utilized more often than in the past. The store is in the process of rearranging its layout, so the more expensive inventory is in sight of the counter.

The store is also hoping to install more security cameras, and, if necessary, a security system, she said.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department is still investigating the theft.

If anyone has any information on the suspect or sees anything suspicious, please call campus security at (734) 384-6007 or the switchboard at (734) 242-7300.