Newspaper Theft-In a small town in southwest Colorado, a peculiar incident unfolded that captured the attention of the community and raised questions about the lengths some might go to suppress information. This article delves into the events surrounding the theft of over 200 newspapers in Ouray County, with a particular focus on the alleged motive behind the crime—a front-page story detailing the arrest of three individuals connected to a reported sexual assault at the home of Ouray Police Chief Jeff Wood.
Newspaper Theft-The Incident:
Newspaper Theft-The controversy began shortly after the weekly edition of the Ouray County Plaindealer hit the stands, featuring a headline that sent shockwaves through the tight-knit community. The front-page story detailed the arrest of three individuals in connection with an alleged sexual assault that had transpired at the residence of Police Chief Jeff Wood in May 2023. The seriousness of the allegations against the chief added a layer of sensitivity to the unfolding events.
Newspaper Theft-The Theft:
On a Thursday morning following the publication, residents were dismayed to find more than 200 copies of the Plaindealer missing from vending racks across town. The newspapers had been snatched, leaving locals without their usual source of weekly news. The motive behind the theft became apparent as the co-publisher, Erin McIntyre, issued a statement expressing regret to the community. McIntyre remarked, “It’s pretty clear that someone didn’t want the community to read the news this week.”
Despite the setback, the newspaper’s team worked diligently to print another round of newspapers and distributed them throughout the town. By Thursday evening, a surprising turn of events occurred as the newspapers were returned to the publisher’s office—stuffed into garbage bags. An individual had confessed to the crime, averting further speculation and concern among the residents.
Contrary to initial suspicions, the Ouray County Sheriff’s Office clarified that the suspect was neither a member nor a relative of local law enforcement, and had no association with the defendants in the sexual assault case. The suspect was cited on suspicion of petty theft, marking a legal consequence for attempting to suppress the dissemination of information.
While the newspaper theft was resolved locally, the investigation into the alleged sexual assault continued. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation remained actively involved, underscoring the gravity of the accusations against Chief Jeff Wood and the need for a thorough examination of the incident.
In the wake of the newspaper theft, CNN reached out to Chief Wood and the Ouray Police Department for comment. However, no official statements were provided at the time of this report. The city of Ouray released a statement asserting that no personnel investigations were being conducted within the Ouray Police Department regarding the sexual assault case, aiming to maintain transparency and public trust.
Despite the challenges faced by the Plaindealer, the community rallied behind the newspaper, expressing solidarity with the importance of a free press. In a Friday update, the publishers conveyed their gratitude for the outpouring of support, both emotionally and financially. Donations exceeding $2,000 were received, aiding in the reprinting of the paper and sending a powerful message that attempts to suppress information would not succeed.
The newspaper theft in Ouray County serves as a poignant reminder of the challenges faced by local media outlets and the importance of community resilience in the face of adversity. As the investigation into the alleged sexual assault unfolds, the incident also raises broader questions about the delicate balance between the public’s right to know and the responsibility of disseminating information responsibly. In a world where information is power, the events in Ouray County underscore the resilience of a community determined to protect the integrity of its press and ensure justice prevails.