Crime bookended

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By Pete Mitton1

Used textbooks have become a hot underground commodity at Ryerson –at least according to RyeSAC.

“The used book store, like everywhere on campus, has been experiencing more theft lately,” says Mike Verticchio, RyeSAC’s vice president finance and student services.

Last week, RyeSAC’s executives expressed a concern that people have been stealing textbooks from their Jorgenson Hall store and selling them across the street to the buy back table in the Ryerson Book Store. The buy-back table is operated by Follet, an Illinois-based company. Follet representatives were surprised to hear that students would ever sell them stolen books.

“There are procedures in place when we buy back books,” said Ted Dec, an associate in Follet’s loss prevention department. However, Dec would not talk specifically about what prevention methods his company is using. Regardless, to combat this alleged underground operation the Used Book Room, which is run by RyeSAC, installed a new $5,000 security system.

The new system is similar to ones used at Chapters and Indigo and involves applying magnetized stickers to books. The stickers will set off an alarm when passed through the sensors located at the store’s exit.

Prior to the recent purchase, checking bags at the door and watching customers were the store’s only anti-theft practises.

According to RyeSAC, the new security measures have already stopped approximately $600 worth of texts from being stolen.

However, two weeks ago the new security measures proved futile when a potential thief simply peeled-off the magnetic stickers on several books and left the store without setting off the alarm. Lucky, the would-be thief was chased by a bookstore staff member. The culprit dropped the stolen books while being chased, and fled.

Lawrence Robinson, the manager of Ryerson security, says he isn’t aware any increase in book thefts on campus, but he applauds, RyeSAC’s security addition.

“As for theft, our emphasis is also on prevention,” says Robinson. “[But] when it comes to the crime spectrum, our focus remains on preventing violent crime.”

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