An old-fashioned bandit proved over Spring Break that when it comes to crime, running like mad always beats acting casual.

On the afternoon of March 26 an unidentified thief spent an hour in the computer section of the UCSB Bookstore checking out an $1,800 Apple iBook laptop computer. He then produced a pair of cable cutters from his bag, cut the cable connecting the computer to the display table, put the Apple in the bag and ran out of the store.

Bookstore Asset Protection Manager Will Wood said the thief made a quick getaway on a high-speed road bicycle.

“He looked like a cyclist,” Wood said. “He had very defined calves, and he was wearing clip-on bicycle shoes and tight cycling shorts.”

Bookstore security cameras captured the heist including several images of the suspect, who is estimated to be about six feet tall and 180 lbs.

Wood said UC police have not yet determined the suspect’s identity.

“Nobody’s seen him around. We think he’s a student, but we’re not sure,” he said.

UC police were unavailable for comment.

Bookstore theft is not a rare occurrence; however, not getting caught is unusual. Last month, Asset Protection caught 50-year-old David Smith of Santa Barbara trying to steal approximately $1,000 in CDs and DVDs. He was captured and arrested when he tried to leave the bookstore through the first-floor hallway leading to the UCen food court with the stolen merchandise. Smith’s escape route led him directly past the AP office where Wood and his staff constantly monitor a wall of television screens.

While Wood was speaking with the Nexus, a member of his staff said calmly, “We got one – this guy,” pointing to one of the dozens of small televisions mounted on the office wall. Wood cued the image onto a larger screen and quickly honed in on the suspect by spinning with the palm of his hand a small green ball connected to the surveillance system. Once the suspect was in his sights, Wood zoomed in until the man’s image filled the screen. The suspect walked casually with both his hands in his pockets, waited for a friend to purchase something at a register, and then attempted to leave the store. A staff member contacted the suspect and brought him in for questioning, where he admitted to stealing a pen.

Anyone with information regarding the identity of the iBook thief is encouraged to call the UCPD or Asset Protection.