The Corp is reevaluating its security policies after $3,500 worth of cigarettes was stolen from Vital Vittles Monday and employees deterred another attempted theft two days later.

In the latest incident at the convenience store, an unknown suspect attempted to access the hallway to the store room in which inventory is held. Employees stopped the suspect from entering the hallway but did not detain him. The Department of Public Safety and the Metropolitan Police Department were notified of the incident and are handling the investigation.

The attempted theft followed a burglary of 50 cartons of cigarettes from the store Monday, which was the fourth incident at Vittles this school year.

In September, employees who were restocking inventory discovered that 90 cartons of cigarettes had been stolen. Three months later, on Dec. 1, a suspect stole more than $200 in cash from a Vittles office. A further $1,500 in cigarettes was stolen Dec. 6.

“I think that Vittles has been pretty clearly identified as a place from which it is pretty easy to steal and get away unnoticed,” said Alex Pon (COL ’12), CEO of Students of Georgetown, Inc. “We take this very seriously, and … we’re taking steps to make [Vittles] less attractive.”

According to Pon, these steps include working with the University Facilities and Student Housing to restrict access to the hallway behind Vittles that leads to offices and storage areas and to improve the lock on the doors to the store room. The Corp is also focused on implementing measures to ensure the safety of employees.

“Nobody has felt unsafe, but we don’t know whether the suspect [was] armed,” Pon said. “Our main concern is our employees’ safety.”

According to Pon, suspects have been stealing cigarettes by walking through Vittles and picking the lock on the door leading to the storage area.

“People are in and out of there all the time. … You can’t see the entire hallway from one end to the other,” he said.

Usually, the thefts are not noticed until employees take inventory and realize that items are missing.

In the December and January cases, employees were able to review video footage of the suspects captured on security cameras and provide images to officers investigating the incidents. The cameras were installed in Vital Vittles and Hoya Snaxa last semester as part of The Corp’s ongoing security upgrades.

However, no suspects have yet been apprehended in any of the incidents.

“MPD and DPS have been very good at responding, but unfortunately, we haven’t made a whole lot of progress in pursuing the suspects,” Pon said.

Suspects in the two most recent thefts were both described in Metropolitan Police Department incident reports as Hispanic males between the ages of 25 and 40, with a medium build and a light complexion.

Pon said that it is unclear whether the thefts are connected but he noted similarities between the suspects in the incident on Wednesday and previous thefts.

“In my unexpert opinion it was a person who looked very similar to the people we have seen on our security footage in the past,” he said.

Though The Corp has insurance against thefts, no decision has been made to file a claim regarding Monday’s incident.

Despite the recurring thefts, Pon said that he believes the new security measures will help prevent future incidents.

“We are definitely disappointed by all these situations. We’re trying to run a business so we can best serve Georgetown, and unfortunately, these thefts make it more difficult for us to do so,” he said. “But I truly do believe we are on the right track to addressing a lot of the concerns.”

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