Police investigate newspaper theft at Vincennes University

INDIANA — Police at Vincennes University in Vincennes, Ind. are investigating the theft of nearly2,000 copies of the student newspaper from on and off-campus distributionsites.

Russ Leonard-Whitman, The Trailblazer‘s adviser, said he noticed thenewspapers were missing from one of the campus distribution sites Thursdaymorning. He then checked other sites and found all but two had been emptied,leaving only 100 of the 2,000 copies printed.

Although Leonard-Whitman said he did not want to speculate on the motivebehind the theft, Editor-in-Chief Erin Gillingham said she thinks whoever stolethe papers was reacting to an article about expiration dates on food sold by thestudent union.

“I think (the newspapers) were stolen just to keep the public from knowingabout (the article),” she said. “I think (the people who stole the newspapers)were trying to cover it up.”

Gillingham said the theft has not prevented the expiration date articlefrom being read. Information from the article was included in a report of thetheft in a local paper, and the Trailblazer staff plans to run the entirefront page of last week’s paper again this week.

“Everyone in town knows about it now,” Gillingham said.

Because there were few advertisements in the stolen issue of the paper,Gillingham said the newspaper lost $250 to $300 — mostly publishingcosts.

“It wasn’t a horrible loss, money wise,” she said. “It’s mostly theprinciple of the thing.”

Duane Chattin, director of public information at Vincennes, said the theftis “under active investigation by the campus police department.” He said ifpolice identify the people who stole the papers, they could be punished eitherlegally or by the university.

“It’s really too early to say,” Chattin said.

Gillingham said students were attempting to investigate the theftsthemselves by talking to owners and employees of stores that serve as off-campusdistribution sites.

Copies of The Trailblazer were also stolen in 2003 and 2004,according to Student Press Law Center articles.