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Jerry Everett, a self-proclaimed “proud Weber grad” and part-time employee at the Dee Events Center, saw himself on the news for possibly stealing 50 backpacks from Weber State University Campus Stores Aug. 8 and “was shocked,” he said in an interview today.
Police had not confirmed Everett as a suspect, according to WSU Police Department Sergeant James Wagner. However, many were concerned about the missing backpacks, including Marcie Valdez, the director of Catholic Community Services for northern Utah. The campus bookstore kept good on WSU Vice Provost Michael Vaughan’s promise and donated 50 backpacks to the Backpack Bonanza drive for underprivileged children out of its own pocket.
“The bookstore acted like they were expecting me,” Everett said.
Everett contacted the bookstore on Aug. 7, asking for a small donation for the Intermountain Division of National Ski Patrol annual meeting. He requested freebies for gift bags that were passed out at the meeting, and for the door prize.
Fifty Dakine backpacks were mistakenly loaded into Everett’s car from a rack and taken to the Ski Patrol meeting. Everett didn’t ask any questions about the unusually substantial donation from the campus bookstore.
“I must be doing well,” he said. “I thought that (the bookstore) was just getting rid of excess supplies. I asked for 50, and I got 50.”
Everett said the situation was an “honest mistake.”
The gift bags were passed out to Ski Patrol directors from Idaho, Wyoming and Utah during the weekend-long division meeting Aug. 10-11. Everett announced WSU’s generous “donation” and smiled.
“I’m a proud graduate of Weber,” Everett said. “I work at the Dee Events Center part-time and I stay involved during football games.”
Everett decided to come forward to campus police after his distressed girlfriend and son called him to find out about the incident after seeing him on the news.
“I’ve got to find out what’s going on,” he said. “I called Ogden City, and then campus police contacted me.”
The backpack issue was sorted out, and no charges have been filed.
“These guys aren’t underprivileged children, and I feel bad,” Everett said. “It makes me really unhappy knowing that I took something from these kids.”