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Boston College senior on full scholarship pleads not guilty to alleged pricey stealing spree

BOSTON — A Boston College senior has pleaded not guilty to accusations that he stole nearly $50,000 in handbags and wallets from his place of work in Boston’s Prudential Center.

22-year-old Justin Smith was arrested less than a week before the school’s commencement.

Prosecutors said Smith was caught in the act while on the clock at Saks Fifth Avenue on Monday.

According to investigators, he stole 13 handbags and two wallets worth more than $25,000.

Police later allegedly found out that he swiped 11 handbags and three wallets the day before worth more than $22,000.

Boston 25 News spoke with a co-worker at Saks who described being stunned by the accusations.

“I was shocked,” said Isabelle Smith. “It’s really a shame because you had a lot going for you. He was a nice kid too.”

She said that the Boston College student worked in the handbag department at the luxury retail store.

“I hope he learns and things change,” said the Saks employee. “Working at the company, you sell things, and you want to sell them. If they’re taken, you can’t sell them.”

Prosecutors said Smith was caught on video taking the back room key and that loss prevention staff followed him out to a car.

“As they were reviewing the store video, they were minding what he was doing to the Boston Police Officers,” said Sam Jones, Prosecutor with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. “Mr. Smith is there nodding his head.”

Smith’s defense attorney said that he got a full ride to Boston College because of his activism in gun legislation in his home state of Alabama.

He stated that Smith has been featured in numerous regarded publications.

The graduating senior who just moved out of Greycliff Hall in Brighton has no criminal record.

He was released on personal recognizance and was ordered to stay away from Saks Fifth Avenue and the Prudential Center.

The judge said he is allowed to return to his hometown of Birmingham, AL, but must return to Boston for a pretrial hearing on July 26th.

Boston College has not said if the charges will affect Smith’s upcoming graduation.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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