TEXAS — Littlemore than a year after a similar incident on its sister campus, the staff of The South Texan at Texas A&M atKingsville is reeling from the theft of nearly 400 newspapers.
The weekly paper filed a report with campus police Tuesdaymorning after editors noticed racks had been emptied at all but one of thecampus dorms, said South Texan Editor-in-Chief Philip Perez.
Perez believes the cause of the theft is an above-the-foldfront-page story on three football players charged Friday with possession ofmarijuana. One player was also charged with child endangerment.
“We’ve run stories about (student government) and otherorganizations that don’t cast a good light on them,” Perez said. “But the firsttime we’ve run one on the football team (and) football players, newspapers justdisappeared.”
News of the charges first appeared on the paper’s websiteover the weekend. Because the paper comes out on Tuesday, still soon after theincident, editors decided to run an article in the print edition as well.
The paper pays a student to distribute around campus,including to the seven dorms. The student put the papers in the racks around 9p.m. Monday, Perez said. Later that evening, Perez noticed they were missingfrom his building.
Ultimately, papers were taken from six of the seven dorms.Martin Hall was not hit, presumably because the area where the rack sits islocked at 10 p.m., Perez said.
While scouring campus the following day, South Texan editors found between 150 to 200 papers in trash cans.
University police are reviewing surveillance tapes, ChiefFelipe Garza said. The investigation remains open and has yet to yield anysuspects.
The South Texan isprinted by the Port Lavaca Wavenewspaper in Port Lavaca, Texas, located about 150 miles away. The value of thestolen papers added to the cost of reprinting and redelivering would be$783.36, Perez said.
Add in the money paid to the student distributor and thetotal loss from the theft comes in just above $800, Perez said.
While this is the first incident of stolen papers to happenon the Kingsville campus in recent memory, Perez said, Texas A&M atCommerce had the same experience in February 2010.
On that campus, about 1,800 of the 2,000 copies of The East Texan were filched when the paper ran a story about football players arrested in connection with a drug investigation.
In that incident, two men were caught on tape taking papersoutside the University Police Department; they were later identified as membersof the football team.
The head football coach, Guy Morriss, caused a stir when hewas quoted as saying he was proud of the players for taking the papers.
No criminal charges were filed.
Editors at Kingsville do not have suspicions on who dumpedthe newspapers, but they had an inkling it could happen, Perez said.
“This being a story that cast a negative light, we jokedabout it, ‘Oh, they’re going to steal our papers,’” Perez said. “I’m a little disappointedbut not surprised.”