Estimated 10,000 issues of <i>Daily Wildcat</i> stolen at University of Arizona

ARIZONA -- Approximately 10,000 copies of The Daily Wildcat, the official newspaper of the University of Arizona, were stolen around 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 8.

Wildcat Editor-in-Chief Alex Dalenberg estimated about 10,000 copies of the paper were taken -- the majority of the 13,000 copies printed daily. The police report does not include an exact number of how many papers were taken.

Mike Spohn, advertising manager for student media at the University of Arizona, was the first person to report the crime to campus police at 8:40 a.m.

According to the police report, the individuals involved were seen leaving the scene of the crime in a 1990s model tan or beige Toyota Camry. The value of the papers taken was estimated to be between $2,500 and $4,000.

Dalenberg expressed concern that the thefts could possibly be an attempt at censorship of The Wildcat.

"If you try to steal every copy of a paper, that's a pretty blatant and deliberate attempt to silence the press," he said.

Dalenberg said there are currently no definite leads in the case. He said it was too early to point fingers or place blame, and he could not think of any content in the paper that would have motivated the crime.

The "edgiest" story printed in the paper was in the crime report section, Dalenberg said, where a woman reported to the campus police that she was drugged at a frat party.

Robert Shelton, president of the University of Arizona, expressed disappointment with the actions of the thieves.

"I find this theft to be outrageous and completely counter to the principles of freedom of expression that we embrace at the UA," he said in an email to The Wildcat.

Juan Alvarez, the school's public information officer, said the case is currently closed, pending further information. He said in order for the investigation to continue, the school's police department needs more information on the suspects.

"There's not a whole lot we can do," Alvarez said.

Dalenberg said there are a number of reasons he is personally upset about the theft.

"This is disappointing to our readers, because The Daily Wildcat is part of people's routine," he said. "We're part of people's lives ... if people are counting on [the paper] to be there and it's not there, that's a disruption in the community."

Dalenberg also said the staff of the paper would do all they could to try to discover who was behind the thefts.

"If somebody is doing this to stop a story, they are about to be sorely disappointed, because we're going to have to retell their whole story once we figure this out," he said. "They picked a fight with the wrong organization. We still buy our ink by the barrel."

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