Man caught stealing copies of O&AN at Vanderbilt

For months O&AN Print Managing Editor James Grady grew more and more frustrated by the number of copies of the O&AN print edition that have gone missing from the stand-alone boxes at Vanderbilt Medical Centre. He was convinced it was an attempt to keep the magazine out of its intended readers’ hands.

The Vanderbilt University Police Department assigned an investigative detective to oversee an investigation into the thefts. Officers had to review hours of video security footage in order to identify the moment at which papers were being lifted from one of the O&AN boxes. Channel 2 News’ Andy Cordan picked up our story and shared it with his viewers. None of the news reports were able to advance the investigation.

“Last week an officer observed a man removing the issue from the window of our box and recognized him from the photo,” James Grady said. “He followed the man and took down his license number. It is my understanding that when police questioned the man, he admitted that he took the papers out of the boxes because he disagreed with the content because he's anti-LGBT.”

The circumstances of the perpetrator influenced O&AN’s decision not to prosecute him. It seems he is the main support relative for a patient at the hospital and it was on his own, during downtime away from his relative, that he approached the O&AN boxes and stole the newspaper copies. Had O&AN gone forward with a prosecution, according to Grady, “the man would have been barred from campus, and this would have disadvantaged his sick relative. This was not a consequence we were willing to impose.”

That O&AN took the high road, found some sympathy for the particulars and specific individuals in the situation in spite of the unjust action toward the newspaper, is not lost on Grady. “I hope the irony is clear,” he said, “that, despite the fact that many anti-LGBT advocates press for just the kind of laws that would keep LGBT people out of their partners' hospital rooms, we could not do the same in return in good conscience.”

“In the end, it is our community who so often are the truly gracious and forgiving party, virtues which the social reactionaries supposedly value so highly but so rarely demonstrate.”



See also:

Why we aren’t prosecuting the newspaper thief

WATCH: Someone is stealing our newspapers



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