Thieves Steal 3,000 Copies of ASU Newspaper from Campus

JANUARY 27, 2005 - Posted at 7:58 a.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR - Three thousand copies of the Arkansas State University campus newspaper vanished from their boxes.  Editor Dustin Faber suspects the theft was prompted by a story about underage drinking at a fraternity house.

The copies of The Herald amounting to nearly half of its 65-hundred paper run were taken from newspaper boxes across the Jonesboro campus Monday.  Additional copies of the paper were printed and redistributed Tuesday.

Faber said the newspaper featured a story of a minor who suffered alcohol poisoning at the Sigma Chi fraternity on campus.  University police said they had been called to investigate a possible alcohol poisoning and that medical treatment was sought for a 17-year-old girl after the January 14 party.

The house is banned from holding more social events for the rest of the semester and could face further sanctions if the fraternity is implicated in the newspaper thefts.

University vice chancellor Rick Stripling says the administration is devoting its full attention to the incidents.  He noted that theft of the newspapers raises freedom of speech issues.

Copies of The Herald have been stolen in the past when the paper printed controversial stories.

In 1997, members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity admitted stealing newspapers and paid $700 to cover the cost of reprinting.  The Herald had printed a story about an alleged rape in the Sigma Phi Epsilon house during a party the previous week.

In 1999, papers were stolen after three football players and a former football player were arrested for public intoxication and disorderly conduct at a fraternity house, and another set of papers was taken after a football player and another student were arrested for alleged drug possession.

In 2000, thieves stole almost the entire run of 6,100 copies after The Herald ran a story about a former student-athlete who faced criminal charges.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)