Local News

Extra! Extra! Thieves Nab Newspaper Boxes

Posted February 20, 2007 8:24 a.m. EST
Updated February 20, 2007 6:24 p.m. EST

— Since mid-December, thieves have stolen nearly 30 newspaper vending machines throughout Wilson, police said.

Most of the machines have been taken in the areas near U.S. Highway 301 and Forest Hills Road, police said.

"It's probably our No. 1 crime right now," said Detective Eric Kearney of the Wilson Police Department.

Police said money is the likely motive for the crimes. Someone is stealing the $800 machines to get the coins inside, they said.

"With the amount of stands we've had taken, if you add up -- if you do a safe estimate on some of the stands -- (it starts) adding up," Kearney said.

The thieves are targeting machines that aren't anchored down and that contain USA Today, The Wilson Daily Times and The News & Observer newspapers, police said.

Shirley Griffin, who makes her living filling Wilson Daily Times machines, said the thefts are frustrating.

"I think they should pay for a paper rather than steal them," Griffin said.

Gannett Co., which owns USA Today, has offered a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest. Wilson CrimeStoppers plans to add $1,000 to that reward.

Anyone with information in the case is asked to call the Wilson Police Department at 252-399-2323 or Wilson CrimeStoppers at 252-243-2255.