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Student worker accused of theft

Published: Friday, December 13, 2013

Updated: Friday, December 13, 2013 13:12

Crime on campus does not often come in the form of a two-for-one sale, but on Nov. 27, a student worker allegedly committed burglary and embezzlement in the Bookstore.

Police Services Lieutenant Jose Oliveira said, “It was just the same thing you’d see at a store: an employee thought it would be a good idea to refund money to her personal credit card.”

The alleged suspect is an adult, female student worker.

Lt. Oliveira explained that the crime of burglary happens whenever one enters a building with the intention of stealing from it. Embezzlement is the theft or misappropriation of funds that one has been entrusted with.

Oliveira said that charges had not been filed yet because the Bookstore was still conducting their own investigation, but when the charges are filed, the burglary charge will be the one most likely to stick. He refused to release the identity of the suspect until charges are filed.

Burglary in all instances is a felony offense.

Bookstore lead operation assistant Darris Crear said that the Bookstore became alerted to the theft during their internal investigation. Crear explained that the Bookstore has 10 cameras that monitor “every inch” of the store. These cameras monitor and make it easier to catch both customer and employee theft.

This type of theft is rare at Contra Costa College.

“This is the first instance of theft like this I’ve ever seen on campus,” Oliveira said. “And I’ve been here forever.”

The fact that employee theft is rare on campus goes against national statistics. According to the Centre for Retail Research’s Global Retail Theft Barometer for 2011, of all forms of theft stores experienced, employee theft represented 44 percent of all forms of theft.

Admissions and Records is another group on campus that actually receives money from students. Director of Admissions and Records Catherine Fites said that Admissions and Records has never had a problem with employees stealing money.

“We have daily checks and balances in place to make sure no one has stolen money,” Fites said. “Every day people count the money twice, and we have cameras watching our cashiers.”

Fites explained that Admissions and Records also has measures against customer theft as well. The counter the students sit at and the window the cashier sits behind both serve to protect the money from theft. Fites also mentioned another theft deterrent that she was unwilling to describe, as she does not want the details of it published.

In the Bookstore and the Admissions and Records Office, employee theft is cause for instant termination. The employee who allegedly stole money from the Bookstore experienced this, and is no longer employed there.

Students who steal are referred to the Senior Dean of Instruction Donna Floyd for academic discipline.

Types of academic discipline are left, for the most part, to the discretion of Dr. Floyd, according to the Student Code of Conduct. The student accused of misconduct has the right to schedule a hearing, where they are allowed to defend themselves, and explain their side of the story to Floyd. There is also a procedure for appealing the punishment they have been given.

Punishment, according to the code, can vary from a simple warning, all the way up to expulsion or revocation of a degree or certification. Floyd has the authority to dole out punishments up to a five-day suspension. The Governing Board handles expulsion after a recommendation from the college president.

Charges have not been filed against the student yet, but will most likely be forthcoming this week. 

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