NORTH CAROLINA — Members of North Carolina State University’s student newspaper staff suspect supporters of student government candidates are behind the theft of thousands of copies of their newspaper.
At least 5,000 copies of the public university’s student newspaper, the Technician, were taken on March 30 from newspaper bins across the campus. Technician adviser Bradley Wilson said the school’s police department initially did not recognize the theft as a crime because the paper itself does not cost anything to students.
“There is a value in that paper of about 13 cents per copy, regardless of whether you have to pay for it or not,” he said. Wilson estimates a loss of about $800 due to the theft.
While newspaper staff members say that student government candidates may have had reason to hide information in that issue, they added there is no evidence of it and said they do not want to publicly point fingers.
Wilson said one student who was anonymously running for student government president under the name of “the Pirate Captain” may have had reason to steal the papers because that issue published his real name, which he did not want to be known.
The newspaper received an anonymous tip call about another candidate, falsely saying the election was rigged in that candidate’s favor. Wilson said the candidate may have found out about the tip the and stole the paper to prevent the rumor from circulating.
Editor in Chief Rebecca Heslin said the staff does not want to write anything about either of their suspects in the paper because, she said, anyone could have taken the papers.
University police officer Steve Carlton said an investigation is underway, and the department is speaking with university legal counsel about whether they could prosecute a suspect for the crime. He said he speaking with investigators at the University of North Carolina, whose newspaper also experienced a theft recently.
The Technician does not have any evidence leading to who may have taken the papers, but Wilson said the important thing is that the time and effort put into the paper was lost.
“Not only does this paper have a monetary value,” Wilson said. “But we want all that hard work that we spent until midnight the night before to get out to people.”
—By Diane Krauthamer