Bookstore thefts raise conerns for staff, students

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By Corinne Love

The cubbies where students were once required to leave their bags are now off limits to student use after a theft in the Bookstore. (Justin Henderson)

By Corinne Love

Students walking into the Bookstore may immediately notice something different about the set up of the store.

Students can no longer leave their personal belongings in the cubbies. The cubbies are now covered up with a pink Energizer Bunny advertisement.

Placing personal belongings in the cubbies used to be a requirement before shopping, but it is not anymore.

Due to a string of backpack thefts, the management of the bookstore has taken preemptive measures by placing signs stating “do not leave your personal belongings.”

The signs are not friendly reminders for students to remember their belongings but moreso a reminder to keep those belongings close to them.

The thefts took place during this year’s rush week, when an influx of new students and returning students buy their books, often leaving their bags in the cubbies while they shop.

Students would presume that their belongings were safe in the cubbies.

According to staff employee Natalie Gutierrez, students would pay for their books and walk over to the cubbies to find their bags and backpacks missing.

“You feel so sad for them,” she said.

Sometimes the Bookstore would reimburse the students for purchases made at the time the crime took place.

In order to avoid scams and properly reimburse the students, students would have to bring in the police report along with the original receipt of purchase.

“It’s all we can do,” Gutierrez said of the reimbursement.

Students were then asked to file a report with the police.

Within two days, during rush, the Bookstore experienced four individual cases of backpack theft and suggestions from the police to remedy the situation.

The theft of backpacks were not all exclusive to Riverside City College’s bookstore, incidents occurred in the Writing Center as well as the Computer lab, and on Norco’s campus.

Backpack theft hits students the hardest. Some backpacks were containing wallets, newly purchased textbooks and various electronics.

While the Bookstore would be able to reimburse a student with proper records if their backpack was taken, it would only be able to reimburse for the textbooks and nothing more.

Riverside City College student Alesha Nesby summed it up succintly ,”I think that’s stupid. Why would they want to steal someone else’s backpack?”

Four backpacks were taken from the Bookstore and six were taken collectively from the Writing Center and the Computer lab.

“It had happened in the past, but not to this extent” Bookstore manager Todd Murphy said.

Even after putting up the signs reminding students not to leave their belongings in the store, a student did leave their backpack and it was stolen.

Staff members working in the Bradshaw Student Center were even advised to keep their office desks locked.

No recent reports of stolen backpacks have been issued as of lately, but as a result of the four, students are now encouraged to take and keep their bags with them while shopping.

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