Molly Minta, the editor-in-chief of The Fine Print, was distributing the magazine’s latest issue on Plaza of the Americas Oct. 1.
But when she walked to a newsstand at Library West to get more copies, the box was empty, along with nine other boxes on campus.
For two weeks in a row, editors of The Fine Print, a Gainesville nonprofit alternative magazine, have found their on-campus newsstands emptied, Minta said. Copies of the Gainesville Iguana were also missing from five of the boxes, said Joe Courter, the newsletter publisher.
“It was as if no one had ever put papers in there in the first place,” Minta said.
About 500 copies were taken. The Fine Print is funded by donations, and the missing copies are valued at about $100, Minta said.
The magazine staff could not file a report with University Police because it is not criminal to empty free newspaper boxes, Lt. Jeff Moran said.
Frank LoMonte, the director of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the UF College of Journalism and Communications, disagreed. It is possible to steal free things, he said.
“You’re keeping news from being read,” he said.
The magazine filed a public records request Oct. 3 for security camera footage to find who took large amounts of copies.
“We need other people who enjoy our paper and think we’re a valuable resource for the community looking out for us as well,” Minta said.