Despite April spike, theft rate steady

The Student Press Law Center received reports of 13 newspaper thefts from January through April. Six thefts took place in April, including four in one week. But the total number of thefts reported for the school year so far –19 — is on par with the rate of thefts in recent years. Some student papers were able to reprint and redistribute to make up for what had been lost, but some could not afford to reprint. Five of the largest thefts this year involved more than 2,000 copies of student papers stolen.About 2,400 copies of the Feb. 1 issue of the student newspaper at Drew University were stolen. Staffers at the weekly student paper, The Acorn, believed the theft was related to an article reporting on a campus drug bust in December. The theft resulted in a loss of about $960 in printing fees. This was the third time copies of the Acorn have been stolen in recent years.About 4,500 copies of North Dakota State University’s student paper disappeared from campus distribution racks. The March 28 issue of the Spectrum contained a special issue that included a five-page list of the salaries of all university employees, and Editor in Chief Stephen Baird said a number of university employees called to complain about the list.An April 8 theft of 2,500 copies of Kent State University’s student paper left Daily Kent Stater staffers puzzled over the motivations behind it. The issue had no particularly controversial content in it, said Editor in Chief Bryan Wroten. The paper filed a report with campus police, but there were no eyewitnesses to the theft.The same week, more than 8,000 copies of the Ball State Daily News April 11 issue went missing. The Daily News, at Indiana’s Ball State University, typically prints 14,000 copies per issue. The front page featured an article about the arrest of a Ball State soccer player, which garnered negative feedback from some students. Dozens of readers commented on the story on the Daily News Web site.Robert Fey, assistant chief of Ball State university police, said police had one witness to the theft but declined to comment on what the witness had seen. The theft was the third in a year and a half for the Daily News. The cost of printing one issue of the Daily News is about $1,000. The Daily News reprinted the entire Friday issue as a section in the next Monday’s paper.A majority — perhaps as much as 80 percent — of the 9,000-copy print run for Oregon State University’s student paper, the Daily Barometer, was taken April 18. Editor in Chief Lauren Dillard said she suspects the theft was related to a front-page article that named six students arrested in connection with a drug-trafficking ring. The theft cost the paper about $1,100, she said.Culprits come forwardThe theft of the Campus Carrier at Berry College in Georgia was the only reported incident where the culprits turned themselves in. The entire cheerleading squad took responsibility for the theft of about 900 copies of the paper and came forward to the Student Affairs Office. The cheerleaders returned the papers to Student Affairs and redistributed them to campus buildings. An opinion column in the issue criticized the cheerleaders for their lack of passion during basketball games.