GEORGIA — Security cameras caught three men stealing copies of Georgia State University’s student newspaper from newspaper racks on Oct. 30.
One of the men has been identified as freshman Riley Gillison, who confessed to the thefts on Monday morning, adviser Bryce McNeil said. Gillison told The Signal that he and the other unidentified students stole the papers to create paper maché Halloween costumes.
The three men were seen on security cameras taking about 500 copies of The Signal, McNeil said. In addition, large quantities of papers also disappeared from other parts of the campus, which could bring the total theft up to 1,000 copies.
The stolen issue was named a Best of Show winner Sunday at the National College Media Convention in Chicago, McNeil said.
McNeil said that the theft could cost the paper anywhere from $150 to $600 just for the printing, depending on how many copies were actually stolen. The Signal has a press run of 5,000 issues, with the entire press run costing $1,700.
Editor-in-Chief Sabastian Wee said that an investigator at Georgia State told him that Fulton County would not prosecute the thefts as a criminal matter. Wee said he was told the paper could file a civil suit against the three men.
The issues contained around $2,000 in ads, but McNeil said no advertisers have contacted the paper asking for reimbursement.
This is the second newspaper theft The Signal has reported this year. In May, around 250 copies of the paper were tossed into recycling bins by female students.
“I’m really disappointed at the inability of the campus community to understand the nature of what newspaper theft is,” McNeil said.
Wee said that the paper has contacted Dean of Students Rebecca Stout for assistance.
This is the 25th newspaper theft reported to the Student Press Law Center this year.
By Jordan Bradley, SPLC staff writer. Contact Bradley by email or at (703) 807-1904 ext. 124.