Retail theft increases at GVSU Laker Store

By Hannah Lentz | 1/25/16 11:11am

Grand Valley’s bookstore employee, Jenn Lee, helps Grand Valley student, Kim Massuch, check out of the new Allendale Bookstore on Tuesday, September 1, 2015.
by 302074041934 and Sara Carte / The Lanthorn

Since the beginning of the 2015-2016 academic year, there have been over 15 instances of retail fraud at the newly revamped Laker Store.

With 11 recorded instances of theft during the fall 2015 semester and six instances already reported during the winter semester, there seems to be an evident sticky fingers problem at Grand Valley State University, a problem that hasn't gone unnoticed by the GVSU police department.

"It comes down to this: people need to stop," said GVPD Capt. Brandon DeHaan.

Most of the recorded crimes have been categorized as retail fraud in the third degree. A crime to this extent means that goods stolen have a retail value that totals below $200. This limit can include one item below this price or several items that, when combined, stay below the monetary limit. Crimes at this level are considered a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500, or three times the value of the difference in price, property stolen, or money or property obtained or attempted to be obtained.

Due to the fact that the Laker Store is larger than its previous locations, the store utilizes a camera detection system to catch instances of retail fraud. When goods are stolen from campus locations, the police are notified and an investigation begins until the criminal is found.

The university then takes legal action.

"The police have had great success at apprehending these type of situations," DeHaan said. "We need people to think before they engage in acts of bad behavior."

Though the police force has had great success in identifying suspects, the community needs to understand that the police are putting time into finding subjects that could be used in more rewarding ways, DeHaan said.

DeHaan also touched on the hypocrisy behind the recent thefts.

"When we speak with subjects, we always ask if they would steal from another person and they always say that 'no' they would never steal from a classmate or Grand Valley community member," DeHaan said. "When you steal from a location on campus, you're stealing from all the students at the university."

GVPD will continue on with investigations as they arise in partnership with the Laker Store. Legal action will continue to be taken on those who are caught stealing, DeHaan said.

"What people don't understand is that there's no such thing as a victimless crime."

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