$200K of Textbooks Swiped in GW Bookstore Scheme

Authorities: three bookstore employees conspired with a long-time campus hot dog vendor to steal and resell books

Friday, Nov 9, 2012  |  Updated 5:45 PM EDT
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Four men were found guilty of conspiracy and theft Thursday in a textbook-stealing scheme at The George Washington University.

Shomari Stone

Four men were found guilty of conspiracy and theft Thursday in a textbook-stealing scheme at The George Washington University.

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Four men were found guilty of conspiracy and theft Thursday in a textbook-stealing scheme at The George Washington University.

Authorities say that three men who worked at the campus bookstore conspired with a long-time campus hot dog vendor to steal and resell approximately $200,000 worth of books.

Campus police set up cameras after hundreds of books went missing in December 2010. In surveillance video, bookstore employee Darrell Coleman, 21, places new books on a table, and his coworker Kyle Culbreath, 22, puts them puts in boxes. The box is dropped off at the bookstore's loading dock, and 42-year-old Hao Nguyen, a well-known hot dog vendor, picks it up. Authorities say he sold them online for more than $50,000 over the course of the scheme.

Prosecutors say another man, 22-year-old Kiry McCullum, was also involved.

The four men participated in the scheme from Dec. 13, 2010 to Jan. 19, 2011, authorities say.

"It feels like they're stealing from the university," said student Jordan Mandell, who was surprised Nguyen was involved. "You wouldn't expect a hot dog man to be stealing textbooks from a bookstore."

Nguyen's brother, who was working at a hot dog stand on the GW campus Thursday night, declined to comment.

GW Police Chief Kevin Hay said in a statement: "I am proud of our officers' ongoing effort and dedication to investigating crimes like these. The arrests of these individuals was the result of an investigation led by our officers and FGW Bookstore employees. We are pleased with the outcome of the case."

Culbreath pleaded guilty to 12 counts of first-degree theft in August. He is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 16.

Nguyen was convicted of eight counts of first-degree theft and trafficking in stolen property. Coleman was convicted of 10 counts of first-degree theft and one count of conspiracy. McCullum was convicted of seven counts of first-degree theft and one count of conspiracy. They are scheduled for sentencing Jan. 18.

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