Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Papers Have No Larceny Value

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Papers Have No Larceny Value

Article excerpt

No one will be prosecuted in the latest case of a large-scale theft of college newspapers, a March incident in which some 8,700 copies of the Michigan Daily were stolen from drop sites around the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor.

The university's Department of Public Safety issued a report that identified one of a group of people seen taking papers from one drop site, but after investigation, the Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office returned no warrants on the case.

Even before the university security force identified the suspect, the prosecutor,s office had concluded in a report that because "the papers were offered to the public free, they have no value for larceny purposes," the Michigan Daily reported in a story by Katie Wang.

The newspaper itself thinks it has a pretty good idea who took the copies - amounting to virtually half the Daily's normal press run of 16,500. But the paper has decided it would be too expensive to pursue a civil suit in the theft, Daily editor in chief Ronnie Glassberg said in a telephone interview.

As it was, the theft itself proved enormously expensive for a college paper because the particular issue stolen contained a special 10-page classified section devoted to subleasing apartments during the school summer vacation plus numerous campaign ads for an upcoming student election.

Glassberg said the make good for advertising alone cost the Daily "in the range of $5,000 to $8,000."

Rather than proceed with a civil suit, Glassberg said the paper decided to concentrate on lobbying for state legislation that would make the theft of student and free newspapers a specific crime. …

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