The scene occurring outside 36 University Place on the afternoon of March 13 was an odd one.
Raymond Jones, University Store security guard, approached a man attempting to shoplift three copies of Microsoft Office 97 from the University Store and soon found himself in a 10-minute-long wrestling match on the sidewalk. Before the struggle ended, the shoplifter had punched Jones twice in the face and had bitten his finger.
"I saw him drop (the merchandise) into his little black bag," Jones said. "I stopped him outside the store, and we started wrestling. He rolled on top and punched me twice in the face, and I kneed him in the groin. When the police showed up, he was done fighting."
According to the Borough Police report, the incident was reported at 4:02 p.m., but the shoplifter was not arrested until 4:35 p.m.
"Nobody tried to help me; that was the strange part," Jones said. "By the time University security showed up, the police were right behind them. Security took so long getting there because the fight wasn't called in, only the shoplifting."
After the struggle, Jones went to Princeton Medical Center to get treatment for the bite wound. Police identified the shoplifter as Brian M. Garber, a 31-year-old Plainsboro resident, and the stolen property was valued at $658.90. Garber was charged with robbery and theft and was held on $10,000 bail in the county detention center. His arraignment took place yesterday.
While violent apprehensions outside the U-Store are something of a rarity, Jones said shoplifting in the store itself is fairly common.
"Students do shoplift, and they do get caught," he said.
This is due in no small part to Jones, who said he was hired last month to deal with "loss prevention" in the store. In the four weeks he has worked as manager of security in the U-Store, he has helped to implement a new shoplifting policy and has caught two shoplifters, he said.
"Our policy here is zero tolerance," Jones said. "If we catch a student, they go to jail."
The penalties for theft are steep. Jones said that while shoplifting is a misdemeanor, students face additional penalties from the store itself.
Jones said that in addition to the arrest, students caught shoplifting are banned from the store for at least a year and have their U-Store cards taken away.
Dean of Student Life Janina Montero said, "Theft is seen by the University as a serious offense so depending on the severity of the action, (a student's) case can be looked at by the residential college disciplinary board if the student is a freshman or a sophomore or by Dean Waterbury if the student is a junior or a senior. . . . If the case is very serious, it could result in some form of separation from the University."
Jones said he has other plans "in the works" for additional security in the store, including hidden surveillance cameras and alarms, but these will not be implemented until the U-Store undergoes renovations set for some time in 1999.