NATIONAL NEWS

Man cited for stealing newspapers the day a story published on alleged sexual assault

Jan 20, 2024, 6:44 PM | Updated: 6:44 pm

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FILE — A Colroado man has been cited for stealing more than 200 newspapers the day a story was published about an alleged sexual assault at a Colorado police chief's home. (Sebastian Duda, Shutterstock)

(Sebastian Duda, Shutterstock)

(CNN) — A Colorado man has been cited after allegedly stealing more than 200 newspapers in Ouray County after a story about a reported sexual assault at the local police chief’s house was published, according to area law enforcement and the Ouray County Plaindealer.

The newspapers were returned to the publisher hours after being stolen from nearly all the racks across town, the newspaper notes.

The incident took place after the weekly edition of the Ouray County Plaindealer was published this week. The paper featured a front-page story about the arrest of three individuals in connection to an alleged May 2023 sexual assault at the home of Ouray Police Chief Jeff Wood.

CNN has reached out to Chief Wood and the Ouray Police Department for comment.

On Thursday morning, more than 200 copies of that newspaper were missing from vending racks around the town, according to the Plaindealer.

“I’m sorry that most of you locals who like to get your papers from the racks were not able to put your quarters in and receive your weekly news today,” co-publisher Erin McIntyre said in a statement to readers Thursday afternoon.

“It’s pretty clear that someone didn’t want the community to read the news this week,” McIntyre added in the statement.

The newspaper said they worked to get another round of the newspaper printed and redistributed around town.

By Thursday evening, the newspaper announced an individual confessed to taking the papers and returned them all in garbage bags to the newspaper’s office.

The suspect is “not a member or relative of local law enforcement and not associated with the defendants in the recent reported sexual assault,”  according to the Ouray County Sheriff’s Office.

The newspaper reported Saturday the suspect was cited on suspicion of petty theft.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation continues to investigate the sexual assault case.

According to a statement from the city of Ouray, “no personnel investigations are being conducted in the Ouray Police Department regarding this (sexual assault) case.”

“Thank you for the outpouring of support we have received to help pay us to reprint the paper, and to those who also support our message that you can’t kill the public’s right to know by stealing a few hundred newspapers,” publishers of the Plaindealer said in a Friday update.

The Plaindealer announced it received more than $2,000 in donations since the theft was announced.

Ouray County is in southwest Colorado, about 160 miles south of Aspen.

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Man cited for stealing newspapers the day a story published on alleged sexual assault