Local paper asks readers for help identifying “extreme” paper thief


FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ)- Typically, journalists try to stay out of their stories, but this week a Kentucky newspaper is the story. The Frankfort State Journal is searching for a thief stealing its papers, a thief it calls “extreme”.

Many people know papers are not quite black, white, and read all over these days. Though they might be less popular, it does not mean print journalists work any less hard.

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“The work is important and it should be valued,” Hannah Brown, State Journal Design Editor, said.

That is why staff members say they were frustrated to find some of the people who do value the work have not been able to find it because of a paper thief! Publisher Steve Stewart says men doing some mulching outside the paper on Sunday saw a woman deposit enough for one paper then take more than 20.

“…loads up two backpacks worth of Sunday Edition. She did have the courtesy of leaving the window copy in the rack,” Stewart described.

Who would want to steal a newspaper, though? The State Journal thinks an extreme couponer is to blame.

“Apparently, there is some value in having 50 coupons for toilet paper; I guess,” Stewart said.

Unlike some other crime victims, the paper’s voice carries. Stewart says, after encouragement from police, the paper posted a photo of the woman they believe might be their thief.

“In a small town like Frankfort, obviously, it wasn’t long before we started getting “tips”, let’s say,” Stewart said.

Stewart says this kind of theft is an ongoing problem that has only gotten worse with the coupon craze. He says it is not a big financial issue, but is a big inconvenience for readers like Pam Cloyd, who had trouble finding a paper Tuesday.

“This is part of our lives and without a local newspaper we can’t stay in touch with the people passing, the birth dates, the anniversaries, the weddings, just the local news,” Cloyd said.

Stewart says he does not intend to exaggerate the severity of this crime. He just wants people to know it is a crime so hopefully, they will leave the papers for those who want to read them.

Stewart says he has passed the tips the paper has gotten to the police. If those tips lead to a successful conviction, he will give a free one year subscription to the people who helped identify the thief.

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Veronica Jean Seltzer joins ABC 36 as Anchor/Reporter. On most weekdays, you will see her reporting the news. VJ hails from a small horse farm outside New York City and most recently comes from South Bend, Indiana where she reported for the CBS and Fox affiliates. VJ holds a Master of Science in Journalism degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University. Her passion for journalism runs deep. It began as she studied graffiti as an ancient form of communication in Athens, Greece. While a student journalist in Morocco, she learned her most important journalistic lesson: good stories are about people. VJ loves life in and around Lexington. She feels most at home among horses and a diverse community of fascinating people. She enjoys reporting during the week and on the weekend she strives to bring her neighbors the news that matters most to them. VJ enjoys going to neighborhood events, exploring, horseback riding, skiing, sailing, and good movies. Look for her out and about in the community! VJ invites you to reach out to her with story ideas or just to say hello! Find her on Facebook at Veronica Jean Seltzer ABC 36, tweet her @VJS_ABC36, or email her at VSeltzer@wtvq.com. She looks forward to hearing from you!