Newspaper theft can be successfully prosecuted. Here’s some of the proof (which, of course, you should print out and share with your local law enforcement officials and prosecutors):
- Morehead State University: In 2005, three students were charged with third-degree criminal mischief for stealing more than 7,000 student newspapers. See the SPLC story and the Winter 2005-06 Report story of that case and a similar prosecution in Wisconsin the same month.
- University of California at Berkeley: In January 2003, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates pled guilty and was fined for his role in trashing 1,000 copies of the Nov. 4, 2002, edition of University of California at Berkeley’s student newspaper, which carried an editorial endorsement of his mayoral opponent. See the SPLC Report story.
- University of Kentucky: Three students were apprehended and pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal mischief for stealing 11,000 copies of one issue of the Kentucky Kernel. See the SPLC Report article (Fall 1997).
- University of Texas-Austin: A student plead guilty to stealing copies of the Daily Texan because of an article that appeared on his arrest for forging a letter of recommendation to gain acceptance to UT-Austin. He was given six months probation. See the UT Daily Texan article (September 1995) and SPLC Report story (Winter 1996-97).
For general information on prosecuting newspaper theft, see the Student Press Law Center’s Guide to Newspaper Theft.