Hundreds of Newspapers Stolen in Reedley

5/15/2008 Fresno, CA Police in Reedley are investigating the theft of hundreds of newspapers. Some were taken off racks and others were removed from people's front yards.

The top story that day was an unflattering article involving the City of Orange Cove. The publisher of it hints that an investigative report inside is the reason someone stole hundreds of copies.

Last Thursday when residents in Reedley and Orange Cove went for their weekly copy of the "Exponent" and "Mountain Times," it was missing. About 200 copies vanished from racks and front porches.

Police are investigating but say they have few leads. However, Fred Hall, the publisher of mid-valley publishing hinted that maybe an article that appeared in both newspapers is the reason it was taken.

Hall wouldn't say who took the newspapers but believes the theft was politically motivated. The front page article in question looks at the funding for Orange Cove's 2005 BMX race track.

The article alleges the city improperly declared an "emergency" to get the BMX park built quickly without going through the normal bidding process.

The Mayor of Orange Cove, Victor Lopez said the city has done nothing wrong, "Everything's audited. Everything's accounted for. There's no problem. I don't see why anybody would write such a story."

The California Department of Parks and Recreation "OK-ed" the b-m-x project several years ago, but is now conducting an audit before it will reimburse the city. Mayor Lopez says he's confident about the way handled the BMX Park. He also denies any connection to the stolen newspapers. "I'm really saddened to hear whoever took the papers has got to be nuts. OK? I feel that way personally. OK? And I feel sorry. But when people start accusing I don't know what Christians they are but let's not judge. Let's get facts. Ok? Let's present the facts," said Lopez.

Thursday's paper contains the publisher's words about the events this last week. He's also offering a $500 dollar reward for information regarding the stolen newspapers.

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