More Than 1,000 Plainsman Copies Go Missing in Under Two Hours at Auburn University

In a roughly 90-minute span last Thursday morning, more than 1,000 copies of The Auburn Plainsman were allegedly stolen from at least eight locations across the Auburn University campus. In a news story about the incident, the Plainsman confirms staffers have filed a related police report and a public safety investigation is underway.

According to the paper, a Plainsman adviser first became suspicious after coming across several news racks in the university’s student center that were empty — less than two hours after copies of the latest issue had been delivered.


A portion of the statement issued by the Plainsman on the day of the theft:

“While the print product is free to Auburn students, faculty, staff and the community, the product is not free from cost to the Plainsman. Production expenses each week include, but are not limited to, printing costs, delivery costs, special section inserts and staff salaries. Any theft of papers in an attempt to censor content will be followed up by any means necessary, including criminal prosecution, civil action for restitution of lost funds and campus disciplinary action. We value our First Amendment right to disseminate information to the public through our products, and we hope those responsible for infringing upon those rights will come forward and do the right thing.”

1Editors separately told the Student Press Law Center they believed three features in the Thursday issue may have potentially provoked thieves or pranksters to carry out their grab-and-run attack.

According to the SPLC, “The first is an editorial on Page A6 titled ‘SGA puts the brakes on security,’ which [Plainsman editor-in-chief Becky] Hardy said concerns the Student Government Association, parking services and public safety that didn’t portray the SGA in ‘the best light.’ The second story is about a council member who lost an election and claimed voter fraud, which ran on the front page. … The Crime Reports, a regular feature in the newspaper, could have also led to the thefts, Hardy said. ‘It could have been a student who didn’t like seeing their name in the paper under a DUI or something like that.'”


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