ARIZONA– A student at Embry-RiddleAeronautical University admitted to stealing more than 800 copies of the studentnewspaper last month containing an article about drug and DUI charges she wasfacing.
The March 10 issue of the Horizons newspaper disappeared fromdistribution bins on campus the same dayit came out, said Michael Hamann, editor in chief of the paper. Thepaper’s managing editor and the campus safety chief informed him of thetheft. Hamann estimates that the theft cost the newspaper nearly$1000 in losses, he said.
Thestolen issue featured an article about Embry-Riddle soccer player Brianna Hillgetting charged with marijuana possession and driving under the influence ofdrugs.
”Such a charge is a big deal at an aeronauticaluniversity such as ours because of the obvious problems when drugs and aviationare mixed,” Hamann said.
In response to the theft, Hamann wrotea letter to Interim University President John Johnson and filed a police reportwith the local Prescott, Ariz. police department. In the police report, Hamannnamed Hill as the paper’s top suspect. The paper’s staffredistributed 500 copies of the paper a couple days after the initial theft onlyto have 200 copies stolen again, Hamman said.
”The student[Hill] that we named as a suspect to police admitted to it when they called her,then stole the copies we redistributed and left us a voicemail telling us tostop printing the issue,” Hamann said.
Hill told police thatshe was acting with the dean of student’s permission, according to thepolice report.
Associate Dean of Students Andy Fraher denied theclaim, saying the dean’s officedid not give Hill permission or instruction to steal thenewspaper.
The paper is looking for a lawyer to represent it so itcan pursue the next step in civil court, Hamann said. Prescott police said therewould be no criminal charges filed against Hill.
Hamman said thetheft of the paper did not prevent the story from reaching the campus community.After two failed attempts at distribution, the staff put signs on itsdistribution bins directing readers to the paper’s Web site.
Still, having the paper stolen has been a wearisome experience forthe newspaper, Hamann said.
”The staff is dismayed, to say theleast,” he said. ”We worked hard to put out an issue that we releasesix times per semester and had it stolen within 3days.”