$630 swiped in U-Mart robbery

By Kimberly Miller

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Student Union's U-Mart became the second student eatery to be robbed Wednesday when someone stole $630 from the cash register shortly after closing.

A U-Mart employee, who was closing the store a little before 8 p.m., told police she was counting the money from the register when she dropped some pennies on the ground. When she bent to pick them up someone apparently came into the store and stole the cash off the counter near the register.

She said she did not see any suspects in the area and although a band was playing in the Cellar, only one man collecting money at the door was in the hallway. He also told police he did not see anyone in the area.

Earlier Wednesday afternoon, an armed robber stole $130 from the Corner Cafe in McClelland Hall. The suspect, whose composite was printed in the Arizona Daily Wildcat yesterday, pointed a gun at one of the Cafe's employees and threatened him.

Police do not believe the two robberies are related and said further investigation is needed in both cases.

"I have no reason at this point nor do I have any evidence that these two cases are connected," said Sgt. Salvatore Celi of the University of Arizona Police Department.

Michael Low, the Student Union interim director, said he is concerned about the robberies has already met with management to discuss what measures need to be taken to curb this type of crime.

"Right now we're retraining cashiers, and refreshing everyone as to what our policies are in case of an emergency," said Low, who was concerned because an employee chased after the robber at the Corner Cafe.

Low said one of the problems is a lack of communication between employees, management and directors. Because of this, Low said, the lock on the door to the U-Mart was changed and could not be locked from the inside, enabling someone to enter and steal the money off the counter. Low said the lock was fixed yesterday.

"Somehow the lock got changed and no one told the proper channels that it needed to be fixed," Low said. "Then a situation was created where something can go very wrong."

Low said 1990 was the last time a Student Union establishment was robbed, and that only four robberies have occurred in the last 21 years.

"We've never seen anything like this before," Low said. "At this point I just consider us very lucky that no one has gotten hurt."

Richard Osuna, the manager on duty at Louie's Lower Level at the time of the second robbery, said the student employee of U-Mart called him when she noticed the money missing.

"She called me about five minutes (before) eight and said her money was missing," Osuna said. "At first I thought it was a joke, but then she sounded so serious, I went right over to help her look for it."

Osuna said this type of robbery was bound to happen eventually because the store cannot be locked from the inside. He said the gate was scheduled to be fixed yesterday.

"It could have just been anyone walking around down there and with all that noise from the band you really couldn't hear if someone walked in and grabbed the money," Osuna said.

Joyce Laughman, manager of U-Mart, said the robberies have been a wake-up call to people of the dangers of having money in plain view.

"We're definitely going to take extra precautions and tell people to be more careful when counting the money," Laughman said.

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