SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- More thefts at the Missouri State University bookstore leave the university missing hundreds of dollars worth of textbooks.
Near the end of August, the former MSU bookstore director Mark Brixey was sentenced to more than five years in prison for stealing more than $1 million from the bookstore. His sentencing may have brought some closure to that incident, but a more recent theft has created more loss for the still-recovering bookstore.
Now that the back-to-school rush has died down, the MSU bookstore is pretty calm. On Tuesday afternoon, however, what started off as a normal day quickly took a turn for the worst.
"A bookstore employee noticed a few people exiting the bookstore. He knew that one of the suspects had some textbooks on him and he tried to get them to stop and followed them outside the bookstore and saw them flee in a vehicle," said Lisa Cox, public information officer for the Springfield Police Department.
According to police reports, the two thieves are men about 26 years of age. Police can’t confirm whether they are students at Missouri State.
"On their way out, one of the suspects dropped one of the books, so one was recovered, but it’s not yet clear how much was actually stolen," Cox said.
Witnesses say the men got away with at least a handful of books, which is estimated by police to be valued at more than $500, which would classify this as “felony stealing.”
According to information on the Missouri State University website, the average student pays about $1,000 per year for books and supplies. That’s about $500 per semester but that amount could easily rise depending on the course.
And with the rising cost of textbooks, some students say the financial strain of paying for college can push people to great lengths.
"This year I spent maybe about $100 more. Last year I spent about $400 and this year I spent over $500 on my books," said MSU sophomore Lizzully Canales.
"I think that’s pretty expensive for books. Even some of the used books are pretty expensive, but I guess you have to pay for them you have to get your books," said MSU student Mikayla Thomas.
Despite costs of the books, many students say they were shocked to hear about this incident.
"I’ve never heard of someone stealing books from a bookstore. I would think it would be difficult to steal books but I guess not," Thomas said.
"I could see how some people could have a financial need for books but there's always avenues that you can go through, and there is always your instructors that you can talk to. I don’t know if I would go as far as stealing," said MSU senior Aryiel Everet.
Security measures are in place at the bookstore. Currently students must be accompanied by an employee when they are in the textbook section of the store. There are also numerous surveillance cameras recording video down every row of books in the bookstore. During the first few weeks of school, a police officer was stationed inside of the bookstore at all times; now that traffic has died down, police visit the bookstore periodically or as needed.
No thieves have been identified but police are reviewing bookstore surveillance video to develop leads.