'Tis the season to be on guard

By Joseph Barrios

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Near the end of the semester, when the holidays are near and money starts to run out, students need more and more cash.

So police and bookstore officials are warning students to keep an eye on their texts and be on the lookout for book thieves.

Students who might need extra money will attempt to steal textbooks and sell them back to the bookstore, said Frank Farias, director of the ASUA Bookstore. As the holiday season gets closer and finances become strained at the end of the semester, people get desperate for money, he said.

"Towards the end of the semester, we definitely make sure that everybody is up on the fact that books can be stolen," Farias said. He said students should realize that other students might "have less interest in the text material and are going to be looking at the book as a commodity."

Farias said there have been about three incidents earlier this semester where students were caught trying to sell stolen books to the bookstore. In one case, a student stole books from her roommate. In another, a student stole books from backpacks in the UA Main Library.

The ASUA Bookstore spends about $500,000 a semester to re-purchase books. Farias said that people sometimes try to steal a book from inside the bookstore and sell it back in the "buy-back" area of the bookstore.

But the jump in stolen books will probably come during finals week, said UAPD Sgt. Brian Seastone. Seastone said that although there has not been a tremendous increase in book theft this year, the general rise does occur near the end of this semester. "That's normal because people start running out of money," he said.

Gale Elliot, general manager of the Arizona Bookstore, 815 N. Park Ave., said the bookstores will also pay more money at the end of the semester. Both bookstores increase security measures and alert their employees to the possibility of stolen books.

But students are not helpless to act. Elliot said his "obvious advice" is to not lose sight of any textbooks and alert the bookstores and police as soon as the victim notices his or her books are gone. He said book

thieves will usually try to sell back the books right after they have taken them.

Bookstores can put alerts on books that are stolen to prevent the bookstore from buying them back. Most book thefts result in an arrest if the victim alerts the bookstore of what happened in time.

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