ORLANDO, Fla. – A University of Central Florida bookstore employee stole dozens of textbooks worth more than $20,000 combined and then sold the stolen goods to a competing bookstore, the UCF Police Department said.
Jose Roberto Alonzo, 39, told police he first began stealing textbooks from UCF Barnes and Noble College in 2009. He said that on several occasions, he would hide a book inside his shirt and leave the store without paying, according to the arrest affidavit.
Police said he told them that he ramped up his effort in January 2016. He stole at least 110 books and sold them to two different off-campus bookstores, College Book and Supply and Textbook Solutions, police said. Alonzo told police that he made $24,000 during a 14-month period.
A manager at CB&S contacted a manager at Barnes and Noble when he realized Alonzo was selling an inordinate amount of textbooks, including two or three copies of the same book, police said.
That manager provided surveillance video of Alonzo in the store and a list of 40 different textbooks he had sold, police said. Those 40 books were valued at $7,944.85.
Police said he sold an additional 70 books, valued at $13,007.43, to Textbook Solutions.
Alonzo told police he stole and sold the books because he was in debt and needed money so he could afford food and rent. He was arrested on Feb. 2 on charges of grand theft and dealing in stolen property.