"Over $1,500 in Textbooks Stolen From Bookstore"

Another example of crime from UB's visitors

A man unaffiliated with UB stole $1,656.50 worth of textbooks from the UB Bookstore on Saturday. He returned on Monday to try to do it again.

Terrance McDuffie, a 24-year-old man from East Amherst, asked a bookstore associate behind the textbook counter to get him four economics textbooks, two of each of them, on Saturday. When the associate placed the eight books on the counter, he turned around to look up another book for McDuffie. While the associate was turned around, McDuffie took the books and ran out of the store into a red Toyota, which an unidentified driver was waiting in.

On Monday, McDuffie returned to inquire again about economics textbooks. The staff recognized him right away because of videotape surveillance, and James Hohl, the textbook supervisor, chased him out of the store. University Police Officer Sean Ford met them on Lee Road and arrested McDuffie.

The only time a police officer guards the entrance of the bookstore is during rush period, according to Jason Heatley, the assistant manager.

"Generally speaking, the thefts occur after rush…the last theft that occurred happened the weekend before [the McDuffie incident]," Heatley said.

The arrest of McDuffie, who is not part of the UB community, is not a unique incident for UPD.

Most people arrested by UPD are not affiliated with the university, according to UPD Lieutenant David Urbanek. Another example occurred last semester.

On Sept. 1, a 55-year-old man who was not affiliated with UB followed an anonymous female student into the women's bathroom in the Student Union. Bystanders called UPD when they witnessed it, according to Urbanek.

In the past two years, the UPD has taken action against preventing nonaffiliated people from committing crimes on campus – including randomly checking IDs of people on UB buses and implementing a vehicle check test on student and faculty cars.

"We feel that when we started doing random ID checks on UB buses two years ago, the number of larcenies was significantly reduced," said Gerald Schoenle, the UB Chief of Police, in an email.

ID checks on buses occur approximately every other day, Urbanek said.

Once a semester, the UPD checks thousands of random vehicles at a time to educate staff and students on the importance of keeping car doors locked. Vehicle owners are told whether they pass or fail based on whether or not their car doors were locked or unlocked. The practice began last spring.

Statistics from UPD's checking of vehicles on both the North and South Campuses for the last three semesters show there has been a 14.36 percent drop of student and staff cars who left their cars unlocked, effectively reducing the crime rate and preventing future theft.

In January 2011, the UPD checked a total of 3,573 vehicles on both campuses, and 738 did not have their valuables locked, resulting in a 20.66 percent failure rate. In September 2011, the same test was implemented – this time with 4,123 vehicles, and the failure rate was 9.2 percent. In January 2012, 3,690 vehicles were checked, and 232 failed, resulting in a 6.3 percent failure rate, the lowest failure rate to date, according to the UPD.

"By us educating our clientele group, which are students and staff and regular visitors, basic stuff – like don't leave your stuff unattended, if you see a problem call the authorities, things like that – actually deters people with nefarious motivations from being here," Urbanek said.

Urbanek stressed that the amount of UB's visitors who actually commit crimes is a very small percentage of the total number of visitors to the university.

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