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GMU police arrest pair in book thefts

College textbooks can be crazy expensive these days -- some cost hundreds of dollars. So two alleged thieves thought they saw an opportunity by swiping pricey texts from the George Mason University bookstore, pawning them at a used book store, and then using the cash for crack cocaine, according to the GMU police.

The alleged thieves, who are not GMU students, have been arrested.

Employees at the school's bookstore in the Johnson Center first noticed something shady Jan. 15, GMU police Sgt. David Ganley said. When an employee confronted a man with a bag of books, he ran. Police then reviewed the store's surveillance tapes and found that two other people were involved with the man, and had slipped out unnoticed.

On Jan. 19, a bookstore supervisor spotted the two suspects from the surveillance tapes leaving with books, followed them to a car near the Sandy Creek parking deck and got better descriptions of them, Ganley said, though they escaped with about $660 worth of higher learning.

GMU police were ready when the pair returned Jan. 28. Officer Matthew Brudvig spotted a likely getaway vehicle parked in the same lot the suspects had used before. He radioed other officers and detectives, who hustled to the bookstore, Ganley said. By this time, the couple had made one trip from the store to the car, and were back for a second round when Officer Eric Aman snagged the woman in the store elevator with another bag of books.

Ganley said the woman had a crack pipe and a small amount of cocaine on her when she was searched. She told investigators "she was selling the books for crack," he said.

Sandra A. Reid, 42, of the District, was charged with two counts of grand larceny (more than $200 worth of merchandise), concealing merchandise and possession of cocaine. Court records show that a week after her arrest, she pleaded guilty to petty larceny from a Giant grocery.

Brian Boyd, 33, of the District was charged with one count of grand larceny, then did not show up for his first court appearance, court records show.

The original third member of the books-for-crack ring, who first fled Jan. 15, is believed to have been on campus the day that Reid and Boyd were arrested but got away, Ganley said. Police are trying to identify him.

The George Mason student paper, the Broadside, first broke the story here.

-- Tom Jackman

By Tom Jackman  |  March 3, 2010; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Fairfax , Schools , Tom Jackman  
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The headline is misleading. It was a Books-for-Crack Program, not a Crack-For-Books program. I was expecting to read about the university accepting crack cocaine for books. instead, its about thieves stealing books and selling them for crack.

Posted by: MarilynManson | March 3, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Marilyn Manson. Maybe the headline writer was in on the scam.

Posted by: linroy62 | March 3, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

This is your brain on drugs.

Posted by: jckdoors | March 3, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

See? Mason's admissions have been JUMPING, and apparently it's not all about the basketball team.

They're pretty smart over there in Fairfax.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | March 3, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

This has got to be the worst headline ever! Send the writer back to school and give him a special lesson in adjectives and modifiers.

Posted by: saschadc | March 3, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, could it be crack for diplomas? Or maybe crack for Nobel prizes?

How about crack for votes?

Posted by: VirginiaConservative | March 3, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I think the 3rd suspect was Marion Barry.

Posted by: streff | March 3, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

What in the world?

Posted by: brandip_77 | March 3, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

That is the BEST headline for the story; just look at all the comments it has generated.

We need some new age journalism full of utterly confusing headlines that wake the populace up.

Keep them on thier TOES, Jackman !!!!

Posted by: properbostonian1 | March 3, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Arrest the governor of Virginia, too. He's stealing 26% of the state funding for GMU this year on top of the 15% last year, 15% the year before that and 15% the previous year the former governor stole.

Virginia's new motto: Steal from the poor to give to the rich.

Posted by: thuff7 | March 3, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Throw the book at these thieves.

Yes, I know the jails are croweded to overcrowded. But whether in the name of deterrence or just simple justice, people need to do enough time to send a signal that society will not tolerate certain behaviors.

Posted by: BlanketyBlank | March 4, 2010 1:58 AM | Report abuse

These people were on the right track. Buy textbooks for cheap from Amazon marketplace and then resell at the college buyback.

Posted by: mediajunky | March 4, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: DATBREEZ | March 4, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

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