From the Other Publisher: The Mystery of the Missing Newspapers: Chapter One

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Karen Portugal York

We noticed it almost immediately. The Malibu Times papers, which had been delivered to newsstands on Wednesday afternoon, were entirely gone by Thursday afternoon. At first we thought it was due to the popularity of Malibu Guitar Festival guest, actor/musician Kevin Costner, featured front and center on the front page. We know that “celebrity sells” in Malibu, but even Kevin would be surprised that several thousand issues of the paper had been snapped up because of him. Then we suspected that, as in past times, the “Recyclers” might be snatching the paper off the stands to re-sell. But we noticed that other publications, stacked in adjacent newsstands, had not been touched. Finally, our suspicions aroused, it occurred to us that the papers had been stolen. But why?  

Carefully, we perused the contents of last week’s paper to see if anything unusually inflammatory had been reported — something that “someone” didn’t want to be seen in print. We doubt that the announcement that former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka has been indicted is the reason. Our coverage is the least of his problems. Neighborhood zoning issues, Coastal Commission decisions about the proposed waste water treatment plant or the Edge project are very controversial with strong feelings on all sides, but hardly new news or worth a possible felony conviction. So, the question remains — where are the papers and why were they taken?  

It is difficult to believe that this theft is merely a political statement or a teenage prank, or that the removal of the papers reflects a misguided competitive tactic. Whoever engineered the removal of the papers from local markets and high-traffic distribution areas throughout the community obviously has a more nefarious motive, and it is up to us to find them and to assure that it won’t happen again. After all, aside from our Malibu readership, we are responsible to our advertisers who have spent their hard-earned dollars with us in order to get their messages to our community in a timely manner. 

Make no mistakes. We are firmly convinced that we are dealing with a criminal matter; we have filed a report with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department, which is investigating the matter. No doubt, in this age of widespread video surveillance and with several eyewitness reports of an individual removing the stacks from the stands in the markets, the culprits will soon be brought to justice.

If you have any information, we invite you to contact us at 310.456.5507 ext. 109.

Stay tuned …