After police refuse to investigate, colleges reprimand thieves

Every year, many newspaper thieves go unpunished because local and campusauthorities cannot locate a suspect, or because they choose not to investigatethe incident.

But some newspapers, such as The Exponent, a studentnewspaper at Purdue University, are able to win restitution after theyhave fallen victim to thieves.

In June, the university ordered afraternity to pay $350 to the newspaper after school administrators found thegroup responsible for stealing 4,000 copies of the publication.

Staffmembers began receiving complaints last October that newspapers had been stolenfrom delivery sites across campus.Bundles of the student newspapereventually were found in a trash container behind the Theta Xi fraternityhouse.

The university also found the fraternity responsible for stealingcopies of several other newspapers as well, including USA Today andThe Wall Street Journal.

Fraternity officials did not respond torequests for comment.Pat Kuhnle, publisher and general manager of thestudent newspaper, said a student disciplinary board ordered the fraternity topay the printing costs of stolen copies of The Exponent, but the groupwas not fined for stealing the other newspapers.While there was no clearreason why the fraternity stole the newspapers, Kuhnle said it probably was partof a prank.

Neither the Purdue University police department nor the WestLafeyette police department pursued criminal charges against anyone in thetheft.

At Drexel University, administrators sent letters in Aprilto students who were involved in the theft of hundreds of copies of TheTriangle, a student newspaper at the private Philadelphia school.

Theuniversity also sent a copy of the letter, which discussed the newspaper’smonetary loss because of the theft, to the students’ home addresses.InFebruary, up to 800 newspapers were stolen from at least one building’sdistribution rack and used as a prank against another dorm resident, accordingto Chris Duffy, editor of the newspaper.Editors at the newspaper weresatisfied with the letter and decided not to pursue the case further.