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
March 3, 2010; 2:00 PM ET
Categories: Fairfax , Schools , Tom Jackman
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