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Davis, California

Sunday, April 14, 2024

UCD Bookstore robber sentenced to prison

Fernando De Vizcarra, a 21-year-old from San Francisco, was sentenced to nearly six years in prison after breaking a UC Davis Bookstore security supervisor’s jaw in a Dec. 2008 robbery.

On Nov. 6, De Vizcarra was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison, according to a news release from the office of District Attorney Jeff Reisig. In August, De Vizcarra was convicted of three felonies.

On Dec. 9, 2008, Edim Kurtovic, UCD bookstore security supervisor, confronted De Vizcarra and his accomplice after hearing about their suspected theft. After initially fleeing the scene, De Vizcarra returned and attacked Kurtovic from behind. Once Kurtovic was distracted, De Vizcarra punched Kurtovic, breaking his jaw in two.

Kurtovic restrained De Vizcarra until bystanders assisted.

This incident prompted the UCD police and bookstore security staff to reevaluate their security practices. However, no drastic changes have been made due to the extreme rarity of such a violent assault.

Joyce Souza, UCD police captain, said after the Dec. 2008 incident that the campus police and the bookstore security staff were contemplating changing the security policies.

“We had discussions with the bookstore security staff regarding how to better prepare themselves for shoplifting incidents, and how to better respond to such cases of physical violence,” Souza said.

Since then, no significant changes have been made regarding security, Souza said.

In 2008, there were four robberies on the UCD campus, according to campus crime statistics.

Chris Dal Porto, bookstore cash operations manager, who has been working at the bookstore for almost 30 years, said such a violent robbery is rare for the bookstore, although shoplifting is a common occurrence in any retail business.

“The fact that somebody gets physically hurt is unprecedented,” Dal Porto said.

Elvis Ortiz, senior economics major, had been a bookstore cashier for two years when the incident occurred. Ortiz said he was standing at the cashier’s desk but was initially unaware of the robbery. He then heard shouting and saw a crowd gathering outside of the bookstore.

The 2008 robbery incident was the worst he had ever seen, he said.

Ortiz said that the majority of shoplifting occurs during “rush,” the first week of every quarter, when students purchase textbooks, and the end of the quarter when students return textbooks.

THERESA MONGELLUZZO can be reached at city@theaggie.org.


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