Textbook theft increases as semester ends

By Gus Bode

The end of the spring semester brings warm, fragrant breezes, dreams of summer adventure and an increase in textbook thefts.

SIUC Police Lt. Todd Sigler said he definitely sees an increase in textbook thefts as the semester winds down and the bookstores start buying back books. As students become more focused on studying, working on projects and writing papers, he said, they may become less attentive to security.

We anticipate that it is going to happen, Sigler said. We remind our staff that we need to be vigilant about it.


On Friday, two attempted thefts were reported to SIUC Police. An unidentified male tried to steal a backpack at 11:45 a.m. in Morris Library, then at 4 p.m., an unidentified male tried to steal two textbooks in the Student Center.

Another attempted theft was reported on Sunday after an unidentified male attempted to steal a textbook at 1:30 p.m. in Morris Library.

Sigler said he does not know if they are related and that police are continuing the investigation.

The three major theft areas, Sigler said, are Morris Library, the Student Center and residence hall lounges.

Sigler recommends that students carry only the textbooks they need and should not leave them unattended. He suggested that students use the buddy system and have someone they trust watch their books and backpacks if they need to leave.

If textbooks are stolen, students should call campus police immediately and contact the University Bookstore in the Student Center; 710 Book Store and Saluki Bookstore.

Chris Croson, manager of the University Bookstore, said if a textbook has been reported stolen they can flag the title and keep an eye out if someone tries to sell it back. If a student can prove the book belongs to them, then the bookstore can return it.


To identify a book, students should put some kind of identifying mark in a place that is not readily apparent. Danny Van Horn, textbook manager of 710 Book Store, said students could put their mother’s maiden name or a special saying on specific pages.

Students can also circle page numbers throughout the book that correspond to their birthdate, said Cal Wolff, manager of Saluki Bookstore.

Use something that only you know, Wolff said.

Writing a name is not enough, he said, because someone can easily black it out. Whatever students write, it should be clear what it is and what page it is on, Wolff said.

Notices have been posted around the library reminding students to watch their belongings, said Tammy Winter, Access Services Supervisor at Morris Library.

Students should report thefts to any library employee at the nearest information desk, Winters said.

It is a continual education process, Sigler said, as students graduate and new students arrive on campus.

Theft is the biggest problem universally across the board, Sigler said.

Reporter Phil Beckman can be reached at [email protected]