MEAGAN KELLY/THE HOYA After the recent theft at Vital Vittles, Corp leadership has vowed to continue its re-evaluation of security measures. A Department of Public Safety investigation is ongoing.

MEAGAN KELLY/THE HOYA
After the recent theft at Vital Vittles, Corp leadership has vowed to continue its re-evaluation of security measures. A Department of Public Safety investigation is ongoing.

Ninety cartons of cigarettes worth more than $1,000 were stolen from Vital Vittles last week.

According to Michael Crafts (COL ’13), director of Vital Vittles, two employees discovered on Sunday, Sept. 4 that the cigarettes — numbering over 18,000 — had been stolen while they were restocking their inventory.

“One of the kids was the person who had placed the order, and when he went to get more cigarettes he noticed that [out of] everything he purchased a significant quantity was gone, and they weren’t in stock in the store,” Crafts said.

The employees contacted Crafts, who verified that the cigarettes were missing and contacted the Department of Public Safety.

According to The Corp’s Chief Operating Officer Brooke Heinichen (SFS ’12), DPS is now leading the investigation into the theft. Neither she nor Crafts could comment on whether DPS has identified any suspects.

“We’re working with DPS to figure out more about this isolated incident and figure out what this reflects about our security policies,” Heinichen said.

She added that The Corp has been working to strengthen its security since the incident.

“This is an opportunity to increase our security measures, and that’s something we’re doing across our services, despite the fact that it just occurred at Vittles,” she said.

This is not the first time The Corp has dealt with a serious theft. According to Heinichen, there have been a few incidents during her tenure with the company in which cash was stolen, with each of the incidents representing a loss of about $2,000. Vital Vittles and Hoya Snaxa also cope with petty theft on a more regular basis, she said.

Crafts said he does not expect the loss to have a significant impact on The Corp’s finances, though it will affect The Corp’s ability to donate to scholarships and other philanthropic causes.

“Something like these cigarettes really affects how much we can give back to the Georgetown community. Every carton of cigarettes that gets stolen is X amount of dollars that can’t go back into the Georgetown community,” he said.

In May, The Hoya reported that The Corp has struggled with its finances in recent years. In its 2010 annual report, The Corp posted net losses of $10,418 and $181,745 for fiscal years 2010 and 2009.

However, Heinichen stressed that last week’s incident would not pose a threat to the company’s bottom line.

“The Corp is not in a financially unstable position, and we are insured against theft,” she said. “The Corp is financially stable and will remain financially stable.”

Still, Crafts said that the incident was demoralizing to his staff.

“It’s disappointing for us to lose anything this valuable, whether it be monetary or in supplies or in inventory,” he said. “Looking forward I’d say that people have sort of a heightened sense of security, and people realize that this is a real threat that can affect our profits.”

According to Heinichen, whether the Corp gets reimbursed by its insurance company is contingent upon the progress of the DPS investigation.

Representatives of DPS could not be reached for comment.

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