Pranksters suspected in theft of student papers at Pa. university

PENNSYLVANIA — Between 100 and 800 copies of DrexelUniversity’s student newspaper were stolen from at least one residencehall distribution rack on Feb. 20, and the paper’s editor suspects the copieswere used in a prank against a dorm resident. Photographs of theapparent prank appeared on a freshman student’s online journal, said ChrisDuffy, editor of The Triangle. Duffy said he could not remember how hefound the student’s Web site, but he saved the web address and printed outthe photos. He said the photos showed several hundred copies of the newspaper”piled up and crumpled in a dorm room.”Duffy said he wasnotified of the missing papers around Feb. 23, when a newspaper staff membersaid there were no newspapers in Myers Hall and asked if the papers had beendistributed.After confirming the papers had been delivered, Duffy saidhe suspected theft.”We haven’t been able to confirm if itwas one residence hall or all of them,” Duffy said. ”By the time wefigured this all out, it was hard to tell.”Duffy said at least 100copies were stolen, but the number could be as high as 800 copies. The newspaperat the private Philadelphia university publishes once a week and has acirculation of about 8,000.”There appears to be no motive exceptsome kind of prank,” Duffy said. The student, who runs the onlinejournal that displayed the photos wrote, ”apparently I’m gettingblamed for stealing the Triangles that we used to newspaper Josh’sroom. I didn’t steal them. I don’t even know where they camefrom.”The photos are no longer available on the student’ssite.On Feb. 25, Duffy said he went to the Philadelphia PoliceDepartment to report the theft.”The Philadelphia police were a little confused,” Duffy said. ”Since the papers were free, theydidn’t understand why I was trying to report themstolen.”Duffy said the Philadelphia police let him fill out amissing property report, but he has not heard back from them. ”Thepolice have been nonexistent,” Duffy said. ”I understand they havehigher priorities, but I would like them to investigatethis.”Duffy also reported the theft to the school’sdepartment of public safety. He said the officers were ”veryhelpful” and said they would communicate with the office of studentjudicial affairs. Duffy said the public safety officers planned to question thestudent running the online journal.Duffy said the stolennewspapers’ value was approximately $3,000.If the thief is found,Duffy said he plans to seek punishment within the school’s judicialsystem.”I can’t see us spending anymore money to pursue[prosecution against] these individuals,” Duffy said. ”But I’mall for making sure they pay for it, both literally andfiguratively.”He said he would like the thief to pay back thenewspaper and perform community service.The newspaper has experiencedthefts in the past, Duffy said. He said that in November 2002 nearly every copyof the newspaper was stolen, most likely because a group of students was unhappywith something that was printed.Duffy said the newspaper runs adisclaimer in the paper stating that ”The Triangle is free tomembers of the Drexel community, but distribution is limited to one copy perreader.”He said he is considering clarifying that statement andestablishing a specific price for additional copies.

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