Holt Station closes following back-to-back thefts


Brykelle Lang

Holt Station with closure signs on the doors.

Three thefts in two days, with suspects using the same tactics to steal product is prompting the closure of Holt Station to preserve student employee safety. 

Holt Station only requires one person to be working to keep the place running. It is also located the furthest from the dining services office in the Bell Memorial Union and the University Police Department.

This came to the attention of Tom Rider, the dining services director, when he received a campus safety alert on Jan. 24 about a possibly armed individual on the Chico High School campus. Holt Station is less than one mile away.

The campus safety alert system for texts and calls are opt-in, there is the potential for an employee to be unaware of the situation in an event like this prompting a lockdown at Chico State.

A few days later, a group of thieves came and raided the store, by blocking the counter and taking hundreds of dollars worth of products with them in their jackets and backpacks, Rider said. They came at noon and again around 4 p.m. 

University Police responded to the theft and filed a report. The information in the report is limited due to the suspects being minors, but the stolen property is described as two or three pieces of candy valued at $15.

The evaluation of the stolen property is inconsistent between Rider and UPD. Rider also noted that many businesses in Downtown Chico have experienced similar theft in recent months.

The next day Rider put two student employees on staff at Holt Station instead of one, but it wasn’t an effective deterrent. They came back and stole again.

“This is already an operation that loses money on campus, it’s strictly a service,” Rider said.

Doubling the labor expense and still experiencing the same type of theft is unsustainable, and Holt Station cannot continue to operate at a loss. 

“We just decided to eliminate the opportunity for them, but unfortunately that affects our services on campus,” Rider said.

No one lost their job, employees were reassigned to different locations like Butte Station. Dining services will be re-evaluating whether to reopen Holt Station next year, Rider said.

None of the student fees included in tuition go to dining services, it has to survive on its own sales. Low enrollment and the transition to online classes has caused a significant drop in the number of people on campus, consequently hurting sales for dining services.

Chico State dining services are unique because they are run through the Associated Students auxiliary. Students on the board of directors take part in decisions like pay increases, insurance and the operating status of Holt Station.

“The obvious issue with the lockdown, and people stealing from me more than I’m selling means that this is not a good operation to continue with,” Rider said.

Brykelle Lang can be reached at [email protected].