FAU police investigating stolen newspapers

Posted at 8:30 PM, Apr 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-01 20:30:25-04

Criminal charges could be coming for whoever is taking copies of a free newspaper and throwing them in the trash.

Police at Florida Atlantic University confirm they are investigating who emptied dozens of bins of the university's student-run paper, University Press.

The editor in chief believes the paper is being targeted for its cover story.

"It's not just stealing news from other people, it's theft," said Emily Bloch.  "Just because it's free to you, doesn't mean you can take an entire stack and dump it."

Bloch and her staff spent 11 months working on the cover story which centers around an alleged sexual assault reported after an off-campus party.

The story alleges an FAU fraternity is connected to the party.

She said 300 papers went missing the night they hit stands. Since then, another 500 are unaccounted for.

University Press staff filed a police report.

FAU police said officers were following leads today. They could not confirm if the cover story is the reason for the thefts.

They've charged a person in the past for stealing the free newspaper.

Bloch says it costs the university about $1,200 to print the issues.

"This is bigger than just us, it's about first amendment, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and also about a really important topic, sexual assault," Bloch said.

She said whoever is stealing the issues is bringing more attention to the topic.

"It was relevant to read it, it was relevant to be concerned about it," Student Body Governor Christopher Ferreira said.

He said the school is hosting a sexual assault awareness week next week. He pointed out this situation could bring more participation to the events.

The University Press staff has restocked bins and hope the thrives don't strike again.

Boca Raton police said the sexual assault case from the 2015 South Florida Spill Party referenced to in the  University Press is still open.

A Florida Atlantic University spokesman said the university and its fraternities and sororities are not associated with the sponsors of the South Florida Spill.

An organizer of the South Florida Spill told NewsChannel 5 he did not steal the newspapers, or tell others to steal them.

To read the cover story from this issue of the University Press, click here.