It’s an old-fashioned paper caper ― but maybe don’t call the cops.
Ouray County Plaindealer co-publisher Erin McIntyre acknowledged the apparent theft of almost all the papers in an email to readers Thursday and encouraged them to connect the dots on their own.
“It’s pretty clear that someone didn’t want the community to read the news this week,” McIntyre wrote. “I’ll leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions on which story they didn’t want you to read.”
The front-page headline on the January 18-24 edition of the paper in question reads, “Girl: Rapes occurred at chief’s house.”
The story, authored by McIntyre, relays the horrific allegations of a 17-year-old girl who says she was repeatedly raped while at a party with the police chief’s stepson and two other individuals in May 2023.
The teenager told investigators that Ouray Police Chief Jeff Wood and his family were asleep upstairs at the time and that she’d screamed and fought back, to no avail.
The Ouray Public Library is seen in this undated Getty file photo.
In a media release Thursday, the city said the case had been referred to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and added that it’s not currently conducting any personnel investigations in the police department.
Separately, the CBI announced the arrests of three people this week regarding the alleged assault. Gabriel Trujillo and Ashton Whittington were both booked into the Montrose County Jail and are being held on a $60,000 bond, while a third, unnamed, juvenile was arrested in Kansas and will be extradited to Colorado.
An undeterred McIntyre has seized upon the newspaper thefts as a rallying cry for the importance of local news.
“Whoever did this does not understand that stealing newspapers doesn’t stop a story,” she told readers in her email. “This person is not going to shut down the freedom of the press by stealing a few hundred newspapers. Our community won’t stand for it and we won’t, either.”
The outlet is currently accepting tax-deductible donations to produce another run of the paper.