Suspect identified in theft, disposal of Nashville LGBT newspaper


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — After a two year battle, Out & About Newspaper in Nashville has identified the person who has allegedly been taking hundreds of copies of the monthly LGBT newspaper and disposing of them.

Copies from the rack located in Light Hall on Vanderbilt University’s campus were being thrown in a trash can or recycling bin by an employee who has been at the University for 30 years — video footage of the theft shows the suspect approaching only the O&AN rack, removing about 100 copies and discarding them.

Jerry Jones, publisher of O&AN, had previously noticed the newspapers missing from the rack, and had found them in the disposal bins.

“We’ve asked for help from Vanderbilt Police and from Vanderbilt’s Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action and Disability Services Office,” Jones said. “While they expressed great concern that a potential employee or student could be doing this, they offered no assistance in making it stop unless we secured the identity of the person responsible.”

After Vanderbilt was notified of the theft on Monday, they contacted the District Attorney’s Office, and the suspect was identified the next day.

What prompted Vanderbilt Police to take action on this most recent theft was because Out & About attached a cost to this issue.

“We included the statement ‘first issue free, each additional 50 cents’ so that if theft happened again, we could take action,” said Patrick Armstrong, managing editor/creative director of O&AN.

For this issue, O&AN had planned a “stake out” near the newspaper stand in hopes of catching the suspect.

“We had people scheduled in the morning and afternoon to catch the person, but the last theft occurred at a time when know one was there,” Armstrong said.

The motive for the theft is unknown at this time.

“Vanderbilt is such an inclusive and supportive environment for its GLBT community, employees, students and patients, that we’re surprised such a hate filled action would take place there,” Jones said.

“We would like to thank VUPD and the District Attorney’s Office who have been worked on this. We would also like to thank our readers who shared this story via social media,” Armstrong said. “Our readers felt like their voice in the community was being suppressed by this individual’s actions. We have been a part of their lives for 10 years and we will continue to be the voice of the Nashville GLBT community.”

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