MARYLAND — Thousandsof copies of the Towerlight, TowsonUniversity’s student newspaper, disappeared from the racks in what the staffbelieves to be a case of newspaper theft. The editorial board respondedby threatening to press charges against the culprit, if caught.
TowerlightEditor-in-Chief Daniel Gross said the Feb. 10 issue was discovered to bemissing from several racks across the campus between Feb. 10 and 11, includingall the racks in the Student Union. After noticing the missing papers, Grosssaid Towerlight staff restocked theracks in the Student Union, but within three hours they were empty again.
Of the 10,000 issues circulated, Gross said the Towerlight staff estimates 2,000 to3,000 papers were stolen, taking into consideration how many papers were pickedup before the incident occurred.
“What we believe is that it all stems from a particularstory that was printed in that issue regarding some forced resignationswithin the Housing and Residence Life department,” Gross said. “Some residentassistants were caught drinking with underage RAs and were forced to resign.”
Gross said that every semester the paper seems to spark acontroversy that upsets readers and this case isn’t the first time the paperhas been stolen or vandalized.
“This is probably the most widespread we’ve seen in terms ofpapers being stolen,” Gross said. “It’s nothing new—typically it’s a couple ofracks.”
Under the Maryland Newspaper Theft Law, stealing freenewspapers is illegal and punishable as a minor misdemeanor.
Adam Goldstein, SPLC attorney advocate, said newspaperthefts end up causing an opposite effect than intended.
“It goes to show that newspaper theft is a great way to getlots of people who never would have seen the story to pay attention to it,”Goldstein said. “In Maryland, it becomes a particularly bad decision because Marylandis one of the few places that have a law about stealing newspapers.”
Towson University Police are looking into the matter butwould not comment on the ongoing investigation.
Gross said he has been pushing the issue with police andhopes that surveillance tapes in the Student Union reveal a culprit.