Summer Newspaper Theft: UNF Spinnaker Editor Finds Newsstands ‘Empty, Empty, Empty’

The Spinnaker at the University of North Florida has endured an apparent mass theft. More than 2,700 copies of a recent Spinnaker issue disappeared from 27 locations around UNF.

In a story on the missing issues, the paper’s EIC Jacob Harn said it took only a few minutes and a rainy campus run to determine something was amiss. As he recalls, two days after the issue appeared, “I had checked all the student union locations, and there were no papers left. Just thinking it must have been a good issue, I refilled them without thinking twice about it. . . . The moment when I got the suspicion, I went around the corner and checked [a newsstand]. At that point I was thinking, ‘Oh, no.’ As it started pouring down [rain], I started running just around the perimeter of campus and one [newsstand] after the other: empty, empty, empty.”

The Spinnaker crew seemingly rightly suspects thievery, in part based on video evidence of two student-age dudes lifting a stack of papers from a campus housing complex.


Details of the brazen seven-minute lift-and-run: “At 5:48 p.m. on Thursday, June 13, time-stamped pictures show the men driving up to the roundabout outside of The Fountains and parking in the fire lane. At 5:51 p.m. they walk to the blue paper box and remove a stack of papers. At 5:55 p.m. they walk back outside, put the newspapers in the back of the SUV and drive away.”

This is the second major Spinnaker heist in recent years. As I previously posted, in fall 2010 unknown assailants nabbed nearly the entire 4,000-copy print run of an issue. The theft — described as a “coordinated effort” — amounted to an estimated $7,800 in lost production and revenue costs.

2One ugh-inducing sider to the current situation, according to UNF’s Center for Student Media adviser and all-around good guy John Timpe: “Our police department said they took the case to the state attorney’s office but were told that the disclaimer added inside each issue (saying that only the first copy is free to students) is not enough to prosecute.”


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