This past Friday morning, November 10, New Times received two eyewitness reports from callers who said they had just witnessed a man dumping stacks of last week's issue into Dumpsters on South Beach. Both callers said the suspect was driving a Mercedes Benz automobile.
Photographer Steve Hlavac, a veteran New Times contributor, was dispatched to investigate the reports and discovered scores of papers in a Dumpster located in an alley near the Anchor Hotel. Further investigation suggested that a number of sidewalk news racks along Washington Avenue had been emptied.
New Times considers the unauthorized removal from distribution points of multiple copies of the paper to be an act of theft. Accordingly, the paper has filed a criminal complaint with the Miami Beach Police Department.
In addition, New Times is offering a reward of $2500 to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible.
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Last week's issue featured a critical profile ("Crime and Politics") of prominent political lobbyist Ron Book, who two months ago was convicted of four misdemeanors for violating Florida's campaign finance laws. In an interview last Friday, Book said he had no idea who might have been responsible for the apparent theft of newspapers. "I was in North Miami all morning," he noted.