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$150,000 worth of textbooks stolen from COCC

By Alicia Inns
Published On: Sep 27 2013 09:32:33 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 28 2013 09:55:03 PM CDT

About $150,000 worth of textbooks were stolen in the last year at COCC. NewsChannel 21's Alicia Inns talked Friday with bookstore officials about changes being made to thwart thieves.

BEND, Ore. -

When you walk into the bookstore on the COCC campus, staff members are waiting, to make sure when you walk out, you only have what you paid for.

In her 16 years at COCC, Bookstore and Auxiliary Services Director Lori Willis says she's seen a new level of crime on campus.

And they have determined that $150,000 worth of textbooks were stolen during the 2012-13 school year, a figure first reported in this week's edition of The Broadside campus newspaper.

"We do a yearly inventory at the end of every June," Willis said Friday. "Typically, our loss with the textbooks, new and used, runs about 1 percent -- this year, it was closer to 3-4 percent. We've never experienced that here, ever."

When Willis reported the numbers to campus security, they decided to get the Bend police involved.

Now, investigators are trying to figure out if this was an organized crime, or random acts.

"We get a lot of students all at one time. They can get pretty creative," Willis said.

Now the bookstore is getting creative by completely changing its textbook checkout procedure.

Students now will be required to print out their course schedule and take it to the back counter, where a staff member gets the books, and then students can choose which ones they want to buy.

"It seems to be working really well, although we are learning and changing the process as we go every day," Willis said,

It's a new process many students are actually glad to see.

"It seems to be going a lot faster," said senior Lynne Cahail. "I've waited for hours of my life trying to get checked out, and the confusion will probably be lessened by a lot."

With security cameras and other safety rules already in place, the bookstore is hoping this change is the key to cutting off the crooks.

"We had to do this quickly, so we may do some remodeling come next summer, but we will learn over these next three terms and we'll see what we can do to improve it," Willis said.

If you have any information about the stolen text books, contact Bend police Det. Jeff Frickey at (541) 322-2970 or through non-emergency dispatch at (541) 693-6911.

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