Missing FAU newspapers were taken for an engineering project

The culprits behind recent newspaper thefts at Florida Atlantic University were found — and they’re a class of engineering students.

Mariam Aldhahi, editor in chief of the University Press student newspaper, said they discovered Jan. 30 that students took the 2,600 papers for a class project.

The class was required to build bridges out of newspaper to withstand certain amounts of weight. The professor, Aldhahi said, did not know he was encouraging illegal activity by telling students to use the UP.

Once informed, the professor apologized and told his students to stop taking so many papers. Aldhahi said students even came to the newsroom to apologize personally.

As there was no malicious intent, the UP is not pressing charges.

The papers went missing Jan. 23. Coincidentally, an anonymous person set up posters earlier that day all over campus heavily criticizing the paper. UP staffers tore the letters down, and the papers began disappearing later that day.

Another issue was published Jan. 24, and those issues flew off stands as well.

Aldhahi and the other staffers suspected the critic — whoever he or she was — stole the papers in retaliation. However, nothing controversial was featured in the two issues that went missing.

However, some aspects of the crime just didn’t add up. Staffers could find no trace of the papers in trash bins, and Aldhahi said police were baffled because they kept seeing different people taking them.

Soon after, the anonymous critic denied responsibility with another poster around campus.

“The thief and I are not in any way personally linked,” the letter read. “I feel nothing but disdain for those who thieve from anyone’s constitutional rights — even yours.”