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Theft of hundreds of newspapers in Colorado town last week resulted in ‘appearance of a police cover up,’ police chief says

The theft of more than 200 copies of a newspaper in Colorado last week resulted in “the appearance of a police cover up,” but the suspect has no connection with law enforcement, Ouray Police Chief Jeff Wood told CNN Monday.

The front page of the weekly Ouray County Plaindealer on Thursday featured a story alleging a relative of the police chief was one of three individuals arrested in connection with a sexual assault last May that reportedly occurred in Wood’s home.

On Thursday morning, more than 200 copies of that paper were missing from vending racks around the town, according to the Plaindealer.

“I have no idea whether he intended to frame me or my department,” Wood told CNN regarding the theft suspect. “But the obvious result was the appearance of a police cover up. And an utterly incompetent one at that. The story had already appeared online, what could possibly be gained from stealing hard copies?”

The Plaindealer reported the suspect was cited on suspicion of petty theft by the Ouray County Sheriff’s Office. CNN has reached out to the suspect for comment.

One of the racks that was emptied in Ouray County. - Ouray County Plaindealer
One of the racks that was emptied in Ouray County. - Ouray County Plaindealer

The sheriff’s office said it was not associated with the defendants in the case.

Wood said he was made aware of the allegations of an attack at his home “approximately two months after the incident was alleged to have occurred.”

Wood declined to comment further on the allegations. “I anticipate being called as a witness at trial so I feel it is not appropriate to comment on the plausibility of the young lady’s allegations at this time,” he said.

CNN has reached out for a copy of the arrest affidavit. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation continues to investigate the sexual assault case.

Ouray County is in southwest Colorado, about 160 miles south of Aspen.

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