Student papers stolen at college in Maryland

Editor suspects article naming students detained in drug investigation prompted theft

MARYLAND -- About 1,000 of the 1,300 copies of Washington College's weekly student paper, The Elm, were stolen Friday morning.

Although staffers and school officials do not yet know who stole the papers, Elm Editor in Chief Katherine Honold said she suspects the papers were stolen because of an article that ran in Friday's issue. The article named several Washington College students detained by police during a November drug investigation. The Elm did publish the article online.

Candy Tyrell, an officer with the school's Department of Public Safety, spoke to a student who might have seen someone take the papers, but the witness could not give a basic physical description.

"We continue to look for them and ask around," Tyrell said.

The papers were stolen from the school's Casey Academic Center between 8:30 and 11:30 a.m., where they usually are picked up for delivery by one of The Elm's distribution managers, Honold said.

Honold estimates the stolen papers were worth more than $1,600, based on staff salaries and production costs.

The Elm will run an article in this Friday's issue about the theft.

Maryland in 1994 passed the first law specifically criminalizing the theft of free newspapers. The misdemeanor offense carries a possible fine of up to $500 and a possible jail sentence of up to 60 days.

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