Thousands of newspapers taken at West Virginia University

WEST VIRGINIA — Police are investigating theTuesday disappearance of thousands of copies of the student newspaper at WestVirginia University.

WVUpolice Chief Bob Roberts said police have no leads, but have reached out to thecommunity for any witnesses or tips on the theft. If a student came forward,Roberts said the police would likely refer them to student affairs; otherwise,the police will pursue criminal charges.

The Daily Athenaeum Managing EditorJohn Terry said thousands of copies were missing from stands by midmorning, andthat one of the Athenaeum stafferssaw someone load an entire bin’s stack of papers into a car.

Terrysaid the paper ran several controversial stories in the Tuesday issue. Onedetailed a student’s death after falling from an apartment building window, and the paper also ran aneditorial endorsing one of the student government parties. There were at least two other controversialstories as well.

Neitherhe nor Roberts were willing to speculate on the culprit, but Terry said thesheer scale of the incident suggested there were several thieves, not oneacting alone.

Athenaeum Director Alan Waters said theissue cost a little over $1,000 to print 12,000 copies, including color and aninsert page. Terry and Waters could not be certain how many papers were taken,just that it was a significant portion.

Thepapers have not been found, Roberts said. The papers were stolen between 4 and6 a.m., but security cameras did not catch any suspects in the act. Accordingto a police press release, five buildings were hit.

“Thisdeprives other people of information,” Roberts said. “There is freedom of thepress, and if people are going to steal them, there is no freedom of thepress.”