Thefts force on-campus businesses to adapt

Stores on campus are taking more precautions when it comes to theft. THE PROJECTOR/Emily Enns

Stores on campus are taking more precautions when it comes to theft. THE PROJECTOR/Emily Enns

A rise in thefts is causing some campus outlets to re-think how they do business.

The student store at RRC’s Exchange District Campus, The Mercantile, was forced to put up signs earlier this year asking people not to steal from the store. The signs came after an influx of sticky fingers, according to management.

“There was an instance over the summer where someone stole something

right off the counter when the gentleman’s back was turned,” said Selina Anderson, supervisor at The Mercantile. “People are taking advantage of the store being busy, and it’s really frustrating in that regard.”

Because the store is run by the RRC Students’ Association, Anderson said theft logically doesn’t make sense.

“It’s kind of sad. You’re stealing from the students. You’re stealing from yourself in a way,” Anderson said.

Anderson hopes the signs created awareness of the issue and added an extra set of eyes and ears when the store gets busy.

“When bus passes come out, the store gets filled. We can’t watch 30 people at once,” said Anderson. “Hopefully there are some good Samaritans out there who, if they see something, can bring it to our attention.”

Casey Meijer, supervisor at The OX, said theft in the store is pretty much the same as previous years.

“I know a pack of beef jerky was stolen, a couple of chocolate bars, small things that people can easily hide,” Meijer said.

So far no one has been reprimanded, said Meijer, since the thefts are usually reported to staff after the fact.

“We haven’t been able to find anyone on the security cameras yet, but we look at the security cameras, to see if we can pinpoint who it was,” she said. “If they come back, we talk to them.”

And it’s not just stores that are having an issue.

The Culinary Exchange at Patterson GlobalFoods Institute (PGI) had to change their ordering process due to a high number of walkouts.

“I don’t want to say outright that people are dining and dashing. There could be a number of reasons this is happening,” said Michael Blahuta, restaurant manager at PGI. “It has been a bit of an issue though, so we are trying something a little bit different to prevent that from happening.”

The process before was patrons placed their order, waited, collected their food, then paid. Now, because management noticed more walkouts, visitors are encouraged to pay for their meal while they wait. Twhe kitchen will only give food to those receipts marked as paid.

“It seems to be working so far,” Blahuta said. “It’s just a matter of getting the information out to our guests that this is the process we are going to follow now.”

Blahuta said signs explaining the new process will go up for new and returning diners.

“We get a lot of regulars who know the process, so I’d like to think it’s an honest mistake,” said Blahuta. “ You know, they’re talking with their friends, went and sat down when they got their food, and just forgot to pay.”