Hundreds of copies of student newspaper missing, being investigated

Lindenlink.com | From Staff Reports
Nov. 1, 2016; 7 a.m.

lonely-little-empty-news-rack
An empty newsrack on the third floor of the Spellmann Center.
Photo by Kelby Lorenz

Lindenwood security officers are investigating the theft of hundreds of copies of the Oct. 25 issue of the Legacy from newsstands around campus.

Editor-in-Chief Kelby Lorenz noticed that two racks on the third floor of Spellmann Center were empty early Thursday morning, and a canvass of the other distribution locations showed that news racks also were cleaned out in the J. Scheidegger Center, Butler Library and other academic buildings. Past issues of of the paper also were gone.

Susan Weich, adviser for the student publication, contacted security about the thefts, saying she didn’t know if it was done as a prank or to censor one of the stories in the edition. Weich also said that it is a crime.

Even though the newspaper is free to students, it is not free to produce, Weich said. The university pays the cost of printing and the salaries of students who work for the Legacy.

Several businesses advertised in these papers to try to reach student customer, and the paper will give those businesses a free ad to compensate, said Weich.

According to Frank LaMonte of the Student Press Law Center, stealing newspapers off of racks is “just idiotic.”

“People sometimes rationalize the theft in their minds because the papers are free for the taking. But, you can’t go into the Salvation Army and walk out the door with all of their winter coats or all of their soup and expect not to be arrested,” he said. “It’s entirely possible to be guilty of theft for stealing free things if you’ve prevented them from reaching the intended recipients, including free newspapers.”

Lindenwood security officers were working with the staff of the IT department to pull surveillance footage from cameras in the buildings where the issues were taken.

As of Monday, Director of Public Safety and Security John Bowman said officers were trying to identify a “white male” caught on camera taking the papers.

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