GALLIPOLIS — Officials with Heartland Publications’ three Ohio Valley newspapers are working with law enforcement to press charges against a Gallipolis Ferry man arrested by the Gallipolis Police Department this weekend for the theft of hundreds of newspapers from news racks located throughout the area.
Paul L. Donohew, 45, Gallipolis Ferry, W.Va., who was formerly a newspaper carrier employed as an independent contractor through the company, is being charged with theft and the possession of slugs, both misdemeanor charges. Donohew is scheduled to appear in the Gallipolis Municipal Court on Tuesday afternoon for an arraignment.
According to Sammy Lopez, publisher of the Gallipolis Daily Tribune, Point Pleasant Register and The Daily Sentinel in Pomeroy, felony charges will likely be forthcoming as the company works with the police department to assess its losses.
“It is obviously frustrating to have this happen in terms of the financial loss to our company, but by taking our papers from the racks, it also deprives readers of important local news, as well the chance to use our Sunday coupons,” said Lopez. “We are working with local law enforcement to determine the appropriate charges, and we will seek the maximum penalty allowed by law.”
Allegedly, the suspect had been stealing Sunday newspapers from vending racks from various locations throughout the City of Gallipolis, as well as the Saturday editions of the Point Pleasant Register in the Point Pleasant area every weekend for a period of approximately six weeks.
The Gallipolis Police Department had recently received information about the individual alleged to have been stealing the papers each week and, during the early morning hours this past Sunday, made an arrest.
According to the police report, at approximately 1:30 a.m. on November 4, an officer patrolling the northern end of Gallipolis, observed a Dodge Caravan pulling out of a parking spot beside a newspaper vending rack at Speed Queen at 1313 Eastern Avenue.
After following the vehicle north to Silver Bridge Plaza, the officer observed the vehicle pull up beside a newspaper vending machine at the Big Lots store.
The officer observed a male exit the vehicle, open the vending machine, collect all of the papers and place them in the passenger seat of the van.
After approaching the male, later identified as Donohew, and advising him of his constitutional rights, the officer began questioning the suspect.
Reportedly, at first, the suspect denied all allegations, but, later, he told the officer that he had been stealing newspapers to collect coupons so it would be easier to purchase food for his family.
Donohew was later transported to the Gallipolis Police Department where an interview was conducted. He was later released, and a summons was issued for his appearance in municipal court.
Reportedly, at the time of his arrest, Dononhew was in possession of 364 copies of the Sunday Times-Sentinel and 264 copies of the Point Pleasant Register.
According to the report, Donohew was also in the possession of two metal “slugs” or small metal disks used to illegally open vending-type machines.
According to Heartland Publications Circulation Manager David Killgallon, while the thefts did not impact the residential delivery of newspapers this weekend, it did leave many individuals who purchase their papers from the many coin-operated vending machines in the area searching for the weekend editions of their local papers.
“It’s a challenge, but we are very happy local law enforcement has apprehended this person,” Killgallon commented. “A lot of people are upset about losing their coupons. We are glad to be able to restore that service to the community.”