INDIANA —- More than 4,000 bundled copies ofThe Exponent, the student newspaper at Purdue University in WestLafayette, have wound up in a trash container behind a fraternity house over thepast two weeks.University police are planning an investigation into thethefts after The Exponent reported that a staff member noticed bundlednewspapers in the trash container while walking near the fraternityhouse.Patrick Kuhnle, publisher and general manager of TheExponent, said he thought the theft was not prompted by controversial newscoverage. He speculated that the thefts resulted from a fraternity hazingritual. ”We had a staff member walking down the street,”Kuhnle said. The staff member ”noticed that the Dumpster had bundledcopies of that day’s edition.”Since first observing thestolen newspapers, Kuhnle said he has monitored the newspaper loading dock and markednewspapers to determine if any additional newspapers were stolen. He alsophotographed the stolen newspapers in the trash container and showed thephotographs to police. Kuhnle said he did not detect any additionalmissing newspapers until Oct. 30, when he walked by the trash container and saw”literally thousands of papers, multiple day’s papers [of TheExponent] and multiple [other] papers.”The other stolennewspapers included copies of USA Today and The WallStreet Journal. Kuhnle said police have since verified that the newspaperswere stolen prior to being distributed to local merchants and on campus throughthe school’s readership program.Detective Fred Davis of the universitypolice said he would conduct an investigation this week into the thefts. Hesaid that if fraternity members were responsible, pinpointing a specificindividual or group would be difficult because fraternity members are unlikelyto divulge information about each other.Kuhnle estimated the losses at approximately $350 in printing costs and $1,100 in revenue costs, totaling $1,450 in total losses. He said that the newspaper would consider filing civil suit to recuperate the losses.