Stolen newspaper saga update

October 29, 2007

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As noted a couple weeks ago, I've had problems with someone in my building regularly stealing my Sunday newspaper. After months of putting up with it, I decided to take some action and call them out on it.

Well, I know they saw the note, because the paper had been moved halfway down the hallway last week. Furthermore — which I didn't previously mention — I'm sure they would've opened the newspaper to see the note because I wrapped the old paper in the new paper's front news section. So it looked like the current paper until they would've opened it and seen my note.

Well, it seems that my efforts were pointless, because I returned from Chicago Sunday night to find my Saturday paper sitting there but my Sunday paper gone. They stole it yet again, despite being given fair warning.


Now I have to decide what Plan B is. I frankly didn't want to spend the time or effort thinking up ways to deal with this, or catching the bastard in the act, or otherwise booby-trapping my newspaper, but taking the high road has obviously gotten me nowhere.

People suck. I hate people.

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21 comments on this post

    Wireless spy cam to take his picture during the theft. Then put his picture in every mail slot in the building. Do 'they' still make that invisible dye stuff? You paint it on money and it is invisible. Then when someone steals it, a few hours later it turns green on their fingers and they can't wash it off for days.

    Any suggestions involving hidden cameras or other technology won't work. (1) I don't have a spy cam and I'm not going to buy one, and (2) I do not have any way to mount it. The solution will have to be a low-tech one.

    Have you considered that it might not be the same person consistently stealing the paper? You could by gift subscriptions for everyone in the building.

    I still like the idea of attaching a thin, transparent fishing line to the paper. Put it flush against your door to further lessen the chance them seeing it. Run the line underneath your door and attach it to some bells or something that will make noise. Sleep somewhere close enough where you would be able to hear it. Frankly, your restraint has been admirable. Someone is stealing your shit. You don't owe them anything. I would personally videotape it, catch the person, then tell them if your paper is stolen again, the videotape goes to the police and you will file a complaint.

    The other thing you could consider is buying one of those electronic locater things. Are you relatively certain that the culprit lives within your building? You could just attach the disc to the paper, then once it gets stolen, use the locater at each door of your apartment complex to set off the alarm. Here's the link from sharper image: It's $50, which is pricey, but keep in mind that you get 8 discs, so you could sacrifice the one disc and use the other 7 on stuff you are always losing around the house. Plus, I think there are cheaper versions of basically the same thing out there.

    Nuke 'im from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

    Talcum powder in the paper, with a note saying "Anthrax surprise!!!"? What about a simple note stuck to the wall telling people to be on the lookout for a dirty thief that lives among them?

    Two thoughts: First, like Stef says above, consider a public notice on the wall or a bulletin board. Maybe the prospect of being identified will dissuade this person (and maybe others in your building are having similar problems). Second, can anything be done about the way the newspaper is delivered? I imagine that they wash their hands of it (after the paper is delivered, its not their responsibility), but they've surely dealt with complaints about papers being stolen. Is there place the paper could be dropped off? Is there a consistent time it is delivered? Good luck!

    Fishing line + bells (or some other noise making device) sounds good. Enables you to confront them at your door and say "excuse me, why have you been stealing my newspapers which I have paid for" Either that, or hide a huge spider (live) in the paper

    One last idea. You could buy one of those obnoxious Halloween motion detector things that makes a loud noise if you go buy it. You could try to aim it such that if your paper moves, it goes off. Keep close enough to your door where you can hear it and jump out at the right time. I still like the fishing line or electronic locater ideas better.

    I would be happy to hide in the stairwell with my beautiful new camera, take a picture of the thief so that you can post it on YouTube! I also have a laptop motion alarm that could be put in the paper and when the thief moves it it makes the worst noise! I can see them running away in a panic!

    Continuously getting up early to get the paper before the thief does for a few weeks might make him give up. Continuing to wrap the old paper inside the new paper's news section would probably have even greater effect. Disappointment every week! Of course, if he usually walks past your door on his way out of the building, that might not help as he could easily take it anyway. A confrontation would be another idea, but you don't know how that will play out as he's already ignored your note. Putting up a "Beware"-sign sounds good, too.

    As a part-time arachnophobe, a giant (real) spider would scare the bejesus out of me. But then again, I'm not a paper thief.

    Wish we could edit our posts... What about putting up a sign saying: "Beware: There is a thief among us... A thief or thieves have been stealing people's mail and newspapers. As mail theft is a serious crime I have informed the police, blah blah blah" I realise that mail hasn't actually been stolen, but the paper-thief may now give up so as not to be drawn into the mail-theft conspiracy. Or something.

    Guys this is real life, I don't think the more extravaant solutions are helping. I'm sure Jammer just wants a simple fix twat isn't going to make him look dumb! I like the idea of putting up a notice. Get other people involved, make it something many people in the building talk about. Jammer, have you tried calling the police? I know there's not much they could do to stop it, but they might be able to give some useful advice.

    I agree, the newspaper thief is a stupid twat who won't make Jammer look dumb.

    You could always leave a note inside the next paper that says, "just so you know, I wiped my ass all over this paper before I set it back out on my stoop" - or something similarly gross.

    I realise this is must be a fairly heart wrenching experience for you - but why not, and I realise this flies in the face of some of the advice you have already been given, simply accept that you are getting all wound up over a NEWSPAPER. You really don't need to know who is taking your paper. They are probably now doing it not for the paper, but for the effect it is having on you. So I offer a simple solution: Cancel the delivery. Then (as you've been doing for some time) learn to live without it, or go and buy a copy yourself. The result? The thief will pick on someone else, or perhaps for a few weeks think that you are somehow beating him to the non-delivered paper and spend increasing amounts of time trying to be quicker than you on Sundays. p.s. if you have already taking D Payne's suggestion to call the Police, (and they didn't mention "wasting Police time" during the conversation) please let us know what they suggest from their big book of ways of stopping a newspaper from being stolen. This is thrilling stuff!

    Wow. That came across as unnecessarily dickish. If anything, I think Jammer has been awfully restrained in his approach to this. If someone was stealing my shit (particularly after I had nicely asked them not to), I wouldn't be nearly so charitable. Any updates, Jammer?

    When I'm at home on Sunday morning, which is roughly 50% of the time, I've just been retrieving my papers before the perp steals them. The other 50% (when I don't return until Sunday night around midnight) they have still been stealing part if not all of the paper. Unfortunately, there's not anything I can do about that, because I'm simply not there Saturday or Sunday to do take any action. This past weekend, when I was not there, they took all the ads and left the rest of the paper scattered in front of my door. Ass.

    >They are probably now doing it not for the paper, but for the effect it is having on you. Harsh perhaps, but true. This boils down to a Biff/McFly situation. Some people go through life looking for a nerd they can abuse. Sometimes they work as managers. I've been having this newspaper problem for a while now. So finally I did the stake out and saw the guy doing it. He then took the elevator and walked right through the front lobby with paper-in-hand. It made a nice photo on the building's security camera. Unfortunately my newspaper is still getting stolen. Next time I'll demand to press charges!

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