GVPD, Laker Store employees work to stop theft

By Sanda Vazgec | 11/16/16 11:24pm

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GVL/Archive - The Laker Store opens to the public on Monday, April 13, 2015.

by Archive / Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Laker Store at Grand Valley State University is a popular and convenient destination for students to purchase textbooks, school supplies and GVSU apparel. However, its popularity has lead to some downfalls. The location has reported 10 instances of retail theft since the beginning of the fall 2016 school year.

Jarrod Nickels, manager of the Laker Store, said theft is highest at the beginning of the school year and the most common items stolen are from the apparel section. Items stolen have varied from books and other school supplies to clothing and accessories, qualifying all of these thefts as retail fraud.

Emily Frye

GVL / Emily Frye - Christopher Stark works within the Laker Store on Wendesday, April 15, 2015.

“I think people want to try out the system at the beginning of the year to see if they can get away with it,” Nickels said. “But we have surveillance cameras throughout the building.”

Nickels said the surveillance cameras are monitored by employees throughout the day and always reviewed from previous days. This means even if a person leaves the store thinking they’ve gotten away with stealing, they are often caught after the fact by surveillance footage.

“If someone steals from the store they will get caught and face legal action,” Nickels said. “This means fines and court dates, which can go on for a long time, it’s just not worth it.”

The GVSU Police Department has strong communication with the Laker Store and reviews the paperwork and footage for every reported theft.

“We investigate every report of robbery that we get and we are identifying these individuals,” said GVPD Capt. Brandon DeHaan. “People need to stop stealing. They will be caught and they will be prosecuted.”

Depending on the severity of the case, shoplifting can be split into three categories. Third degree – resulting difference in price is less than $200, second degree – resulting difference in price is more than $200 and less than $1,000 and first degree – resulting difference in price is more than $1,000.

Twitter has been a common way for GVPD to receive assistance in identifying suspects by posting pictures from surveillance footage of potential suspects.

DeHaan said while people stealing may think what they are doing does not harm anyone, it actually has a big impact on the community.

“When people steal from the store, they often think that it is a victimless crime,” DeHaan said. “But when they steal from the (Laker Store), they are stealing from fellow students.”

While the beginning of the year is the most common time for occurrences, reports go on throughout the winter and summer semesters as well.

This means Laker Store employees are always on alert for theft and aim to prevent it by being aware of and available to all customers on the sales floor. When theft cannot be prevented, GVPD is ready to take on the case and find the suspect. 

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