University Police arrested a 19-year-old student last week on suspicion of stealing textbooks from the Titan Shops bookstore and reselling them, as well as possessing a small amount of heroin, authorities said.
Tina Foutris, 19, of Yorba Linda, was booked on suspicion of commercial burglary and possession of stolen property, with the additional allegation of a previous theft conviction, as well as possession of a controlled substance, following Thursday’s 8:20 a.m. incident at the bookstore, University Police Capt. John Brockie said.
She was released from the Central Women’s Jail just after midnight the following morning after posting bail, according to county booking records.
“One of the (community service officers) that was working loss prevention saw a female take three books, then leave the bookstore without paying for them,” Brockie said.
The officer confronted the woman–later identified as Foutris–just outside the bookstore, at which point she dropped the stolen books, Brockie said.
The community service officer (CSO) told her to come back inside the bookstore and she complied, but then ran out the door, he said.
The CSO notified other University Police officers, who found and arrested Foutris on the west end of the campus near the Titan Student Union, Brockie said. Officers discovered .06 grams of heroin in her possession, he added.
Upon further investigation, Brockie said, “(Foutris) also admitted she had stolen books from the Titan bookstore on several different occasions.”
Police located a high-dollar-value book she had sold the previous day to the nearby Little Professor bookstore, which had also been stolen from the campus bookstore, he said. The four recovered books were valued at $617.
Staff at the bookstore and the Little Professor said text book thefts appear to have been on the rise lately.
“I think in the last couple years, with the economy, we’ve seen an increase,” said Mike Clemons, operations manager at the bookstore.
Jake Sokolowski, assistant manager at the Little Professor, agreed.
“We’ve had issues with it, in fact, more recently, in the past semesters, than other years,” he said.
Though book sale profit margins are already extremely thin, Clemons said, the costs associated with the apparent crime trend have not thus far been passed on to students.
“We’re not raising the price (of books) to compensate for the loss,” he said.
But both the campus store and the private bookseller around the corner are keeping an extra-keen eye out these days for book thieves.
“Red flags” that a person is trying to sell stolen books include someone trying to sell back, rather than return, a brand new book at the beginning of a semester, or selling multiple copies of the same book, Clemons said.
To combat the problem, college and private bookstores communicate regularly and share information regarding book trends, Clemons and Sokolowski said.
“Even though they’re competitors, we he have a good relationship with the Little Professor,” Clemons said. “We also have a good relationship with University Police.”