Not a single issue of the Wheaton Record remained on the racks outside Bon Appetit on the evening of Thursday, Feb. 26.
Record staff members first thought issue 22 distributed more quickly than usual due to several stories of significance to the campus, including a story on the arrest of Alexeander Lim and a story on the apple thrown at a student during annual town hall chapel.
But the Record seemed to be absent from many of its usual distribution locations, prompting editor in chief of the Record Abigail Reese to report the papers as stolen to Wheaton College Public Safety on Thursday evening.
Public Safety coordinated with Residence Life and Student Development to begin looking for the missing newspapers.
“Once we found out the newspapers were stolen, we figured the fastest way to get them back was to communicate with Residence Life and Student development,” chief of Public Safety Bob Norris said. “We heard a few names of suspects, so we contacted Allison (Ash) at that point to identify the people and turned in those names to her.”
Under Illinois state law, theft can result in a hefty monetary fine and sometimes even prison time depending on the value of the objects stolen.
The roughly 1,000 stolen newspapers are valued at $2,000, which accounts for print costs and money owed to advertisers whose ads were not seen.
“This could have been charged if caught, and the last thing we want to do is charge a student,” Norris said. “We want students to have the wisdom to avoid things that could cost them down the road.”
Norris also explained that if stolen items are taken off campus, the Wheaton Police Department gains jurisdiction.
“To us, theft is theft,” Norris said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a pack of gum or a thousand dollars.”
Public Safety handed over the incident to Student Development, which is responsible for giving out punishment for the theft.