Newspaper thieves identified

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    By KIMBERLY DEMUCHA

    The paper caper case has been closed.

    Two BYU students were found responsible for the missing copies of the Daily Universe, said Alton Wade, vice president of Student Life, in a statement released Friday morning.

    Thursday night, the University Police Department closed its investigation of the missing copies of the Daily Universe because two BYU students have been said to be responsible, Wade said.

    Speculation continues on campus as to whether or not more than two people were involved in the operation.

    The matter is now under review of the Honor Code office. The two students could receive suspension; however, each case that is referred to the honor code office is handled on an individual basis, said Steven M. Baker, director of the Honor Code office.

    Any dishonest act, including theft, will be reviewed in relation to the specific circumstances surrounding the act, he said.

    Since no charges were filed, the BYU Police department policy prohibits releasing their names, said Greg Barber, University Police public relations representative.

    Speculation that the newspapers were stolen due to a story about former BYUSA presidential candidates Darin Zwick and John Jacobs have led some students to believe they had something to do with the missing newspapers.

    However, when questioned, Michael Smart, a University Communications spokesman, said official members of the Zwick and Jacobs’ campaign, including Darin Zwick and John Jacobs, were not among the two being held responsible.

    University Police presented the case to Provo City prosecutors for prosecution. After a review of the case, the city attorney declined prosecution, Wade said.

    After reviewing the facts surrounding the theft of the copies of the Daily Universe, the city attorney’s office declined to press charges because of a precedent in a similar case involving another theft of free newspapers by Neal Gunnarson.

    Gunnarson, Salt Lake County District Attorney, admitted to stealing and destroying copies a newspaper, which included an article criticizing of him in August 1997.

    According to the Salt Lake Tribune, on Aug. 28, Gunnarson trashed copies of the Salt Lake City Weekly, a free paper.

    The Tribune reported that Gunnarson did so in an attempt to get rid of an article that said he botched one of his investigations.

    Because of the obvious conflict of interest, the case was presented to the offices of three different area prosecutors and they would decide upon the means of action to be taken.

    Dick Romney, Provo City attorney, was among the three involved in the decision making. Romney is the same attorney that received the case involving the two BYU students and the Daily Universe theft.

    Romney and the other attorneys voted not to prosecute because of the fact that the paper was free.

    Using the Gunnarson case as a guideline, the prosecutors declined to press charges. The precedent set by the previous case does not support prosecution.

    “The university administration feels strongly that the Daily Universe is a vital component of the BYU community and that no one should tamper with its free distribution,” Wade said in a statement released Friday.

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