In a midday foot pursuit, UCSB Bookstore security chased and detained a suspect who allegedly snatched over $400 worth of textbooks.
At approximately 12:15 p.m., UC Police Dept. officers responded to a reported shoplifter fleeing the bookstore. Officers converged on the Music Building, immediately east of Storke Plaza, in an effort to locate the suspect.
When police arrived, two Bookstore asset protection employees were pinning the suspect to the ground in the hallway of Karl Geiringer Hall. A crowd of 30 to 40 people, who were about to enter a recital, watched as police handcuffed the struggling suspect. Police would not release the man’s name but said he was arrested and taken to Santa Barbara County Jail.
Will Wood, asset protection manager for the UCSB Bookstore, said security staff monitoring the store’s 80 cameras noticed the suspect stuffing three large books into his backpack from the downstairs textbook area. The suspect attempted to leave the bookstore via the downstairs exit, which leads to a corridor that runs directly past the security monitoring room door, which was open at the time.
“We saw him on the camera right outside,” said Ryan Fioresi, an asset protection staff member who assisted in the chase and detainment. “We went out and asked him for his receipt. I was pretty sure he had stolen them, but I asked anyway. He said he ‘had it right here’ but refused to show it to me.”
Fioresi said the suspect kept walking past him, then broke into a full run – at which point asset protection staff called UCPD and Fioresi and Wood gave chase.
“Usually the shoplifters are cooperative,” Wood said. “But every once in a while they’re not.”
Fioresi and Woods chased the subject out of the UCen and north into the Music Building where they eventually caught up with him.
With its siren blaring to disperse pedestrians, at least one UCPD car sped through crowded walkways in front of the University Art Museum and the UCen. The police car stopped on the pathway between the Music Building and Storke Plaza and the officer exited on foot to assist the bookstore security employees.
Officer Reyes said it was difficult negotiating the plaza walkways with so many pedestrians present.
“It was hard to get a full-size patrol car through there,” Reyes said. “Especially at the top of the hour.”
In the past five years, Wood said asset protection staff has only chased suspected thieves out of the store three or four times.
“We don’t want to get in a fight with anyone,” he said. “The campus isn’t that big – you just follow the person until the cops get there.”