UR Police: Textbooks stolen for heroin addiction

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND (WWBT) -- University of Richmond Police say they nabbed 4 people connected to a string of stolen school textbooks over an 8 day period. Police say, the group of 4 would sell the books at a store near VCU and then use that money to feed their heroin addiction.

One of the suspects in the case was in court this afternoon. He and two others have been arrested and indicted. A fourth man is still on the run, in this ring of stolen books totaling more than $5,000 and nearly 40 textbooks in all.

It all is shocking news to students.

"It's pretty absurd that they would have such a strong addiction that they'd steal from a private university to sustain their own habits," said UR student Savannah McAmis.

"Unfortunately, they thought they could come out here and steal textbooks for their own selfish needs," said UR Police Investigator Tim Meacham.

Investigators cracked the case -- thanks to some training with new cameras. One person caught red handed. Then -- the heroin bombshell.

"She admitted she had an addiction and she was stealing to support the addiction," Meacham said.

Three others -- that investigators believe knew each other through their addictions -- were connected to the case.

The group of 4 people would allegedly come back to the back corner of the bookstore, where the big-money making books are, including a Business Statistics book worth $200. And, then there is a Calculus book worth $193. Those aren't even the most expensive ones the group is said to have stolen.

Investigators say the four would work in pairs of two. One person would hit the stack of books and snatching some up. A second person would hover in other parts of the store, then grab some books as well.

The group admitted to taking the textbooks to BookHolders -- near VCU.

"It's a quicker turnaround. You go Downtown. You sell the books. Right away, you have the cash," said Meacham. In fact, we found out the group was able to quickly make about $40 to $50 a pop.

The group may also have stolen books from the VCU book store and the library. That is still under investigation.

None of the people involved in this stealing ring a UR students. Each are facing multiple counts of felony shoplifting and conspiracy to commit a felony.

The names of the people arrested are: 23-year-old Caitlin Spencer, 27-year-old Christopher Loren and 27- year-old Arden Wesley Searles.

The fourth person, still on the run, is Christian Brackett, 27-years-old, of Chesterfield County.

Investigators actually told NBC12, Christian was investigated back in 2005 for doing the same thing that he is accused of doing now at the UR campus.

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