Newspaper Theft In Brief

Editor says fraternity attempted to censor letter on hazing

UTAH -- More than 8,500 copies of The Daily Utah Chronicle were stolen from campus bins at the University of Utah in November in what newspaper staff said was an effort by the fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha to censor a letter to the editor about hazing.

A security camera recorded one student taking stacks of newspapers. Shortly after leaders of Pi Kappa Alpha were shown the tape, fraternity members came back to the office to apologize, said the paper's editor in chief, Steve Gehrke.

Gehrke said he thought the motive was a letter to the editor in which a student had recounted a hazing experience with the fraternity. He estimated that more than 8,500 copies of a total press run of 15,000 were stolen.

Campus police said they are investigating. The newspaper staff estimates the loss from the theft at $900.

Suspects identified in Maneater theft

MISSOURI -- Campus police have identified seven suspects in the early December theft of 1,650 copies of The Maneater, the student newspaper at the University of Missouri at Columbia.

The chapter president of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity said the suspects were members of the fraternity, a story in The Maneater reported.

Editor in Chief Jenna Youngs said she believes the newspapers were stolen because the issue included an article about a former president of the fraternity who is being sued by a current Phi Kappa Psi member for allegedly sexually assaulting him in 2003.

She said that the cost of the theft was $240 for printing the stolen papers, not taking into account the lost advertising revenue. The total press run for the newspaper is 9,000.

Youngs said campus investigators told the newspaper staff that charges are likely. She went on to say that in addition to possible legal charges, the suspects will face punishment by the fraternity and by the university.

$2,000 press run stolen, no motive, editor says

UTAH -- The entire press run of The Globe, Salt Lake Community College's student newspaper, was stolen from the delivery dock on Oct. 19.

"It wasn't an easy or quick theft," said Quentin Wells, facility manager of the student media center. He said the theft cost the newspaper $2,000 in advertising that had to be rerun or refunded.

Wells said the newspaper staff reported the theft and campus police were investigating, but that there had not been any leads or suspects so far.

"We know of no controversial article in the paper that might have precipitated the theft, and no other motive is evident," he said. n

Halloween issue stolen

ILLINOIS -- A string of newspaper thefts at Illinois State University culminated at the end of October with a larger theft of 1,000 copies of The Indy, a progressive student newspaper.

On Nov. 1, editors of The Indy filed a complaint with campus police when approximately 1,000 copies of the paper's Halloween issue were stolen over the course of the week. Indy co-editor Anthony DiMaggio estimated the cost of the theft at around $100.

DiMaggio said that he does not know of any specific suspects so far, but said he believes that the theft was a result of the general ideology of the paper rather than a specific article since it has been a consistent problem.

Editor reports thieves take 50 here, 20 there'

OREGON -- A newspaper distribution bin and 100 copies of The Liberty, a student newspaper at Oregon State University, were stolen from a rack outside the school's library the weekend of Oct. 17. By the end of the month 500 more newspapers had been stolen.

Editor in Chief Luke Sheahan of The Liberty said he noticed the bin and the newspapers were missing Oct. 17 and filed a report with the campus police Oct. 19. Sheahan said that every press run several hundred newspapers are stolen in small quantities, "50 here, 20 there," out of a total press run of 4,000.

"It's unfortunate that there are members of our community that are so overcome with intolerance that they willsink to petty theft to suppress ideas that they disagree with," Sheahan said in a press release.

He said that no suspects have been identified. He said he repeatedly asked the university's president to publicly denounce the theft, but so far neither he nor any member of the administration has done so.

Theft article could have caused theft, says editor

ARKANSAS -- An estimated 3,000 copies of the University of Central Arkansas' student newspaper were stolen in mid-November, said Echo Associate Editor Traci Waller.

Staffers distributed 5,500 papers at locations around campus Nov. 15, but more than half of the papers were gone when Waller arrived on campus the next day, she said.

Editor in Chief Kim Vowell said the theft could have been in response to a focus piece in the issue on a former advertising director who faces felony theft charges for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from the paper. Echo staff have received complaints about the crime log from parents and students, and she said she is not ruling it out as a motive for the theft either.

Staff members reported the theft to the University of Central Arkansas Police Department, but Vowell said previous thefts have not been taken seriously by the campus police.

Vowell estimated the cost of the issue -- with three sections with full color on the front and back of each section -- at around $1,500.

"Whoever wants to use this form of censorship is not going to succeed," she said. "The stories really didn't get stopped. Yes, it was a financial loss, but the most important thing is that the UCA community still had access to these stories."

newspaper theft, reports, Winter 2005-06