Investigation into theft of more than 1,200 student newspapers halts at UC Riverside

CALIFORNIA — Staffers of University of California at Riverside’sstudent newspaper remain disappointed after an investigation into the theft of1,200 to 2,000 copies of the April 21 issue stalled.

After a 7 p.m. delivery on April 20, five Highlander racks werediscovered empty within about 12 hours of distribution. The paper costapproximately $900 to reprint.

The stolen papers featured a front-page article about questionable spendingby UCR’s former student government President Roxanna Sanchez, who spent almost$5,000 without authorization to fly herself and an intern to a conference theywere not approved to attend, according to the Highlander.

Editor-in-Chief Caitlin Smith said she believes the student governmentarticle motivated the theft.

“No inquiry was ever launched by the student government, by theadministration,” Smith said.

Sanchez declined to be interviewed by the Highlander, but did writea letter to the editor addressing the unauthorized spending.

The paper also ran an editorial about the theft.

Smith said she is disappointed the university did not do more to denouncethe crime.

“It’s disappointing to me that the same university thatlaunched the free speech movement would witness paper theft 50 years later andsit on their hands,” Smith said.

Kris Lovekin, the director of media relations at UCR, said the police havedone what they can to investigate.

“Sometimes a lack of resolution can be frustrating,” Lovekinsaid in an e-mail. “It would be much better to be able to clear things up,but it isn’t always possible.”

Lt. John Freese of the University of California Police Department said thecase is currently inactive, but this status could change at any time if newinformation comes to light.

Smith said she is glad an investigation was opened in the first place,because the school did nothing after a newspaper theft three years ago.

“(The school) said that because it was a free paper and there was noworth attached to it, they couldn’t proceed with punishing the individualsinvolved,” Smith said.

To avoid a similar situation in the future, the paper added a “one freecopy per student” notice on the cover.

Smith said, “We’re pleased that as aresult, they’ve treated this like a criminal matter.”