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UAPD saves investigation by releasing theft report

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After days of claiming confidentiality and declining to release a police report on the theft of thousands of Daily Wildcat newspapers, the University of Arizona Police Department released their most recent reports to the public on Wednesday.


The addendum is an update to the original report, filed on Oct. 8, when about 10,000 Daily Wildcat newspapers were stolen from newsstands around the UA campus. Several thousand of the stolen newspapers were found on the western outskirts of Tucson the next day, along with what appeared to be Spanish homework carrying the names of UA students and Phi Kappa Psi fraternity members Nick Kovaleski and Alex Cornell.

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UAPD immediately placed the homework into evidence when the Daily Wildcat turned it over to them on Oct. 9, said Dave Caballero, the UAPD detective assigned to the case.


The release of the most recent police report that makes note of the homework evidence will allow UA Greek Life to begin investigating the case.


Greek Life is currently obligated to begin looking into the case because of the completion of an official complaint report finalized and filed by the Daily Wildcat to Greek Life on Monday.


Greek Life's investigation had been in jeopardy of expiring, as such an investigation would have been impossible without a police report tying Phi Kappa Psi to the newspaper theft, said Jenny Nirh, senior coordinator for Fraternity and Sorority Programs within Greek Life.


Currently, the homework is the only evidence linking fraternity members to the theft. The Daily Wildcat will forward the police report to Greek Life today to aid in the Greek Judicial Board's investigation.


UAPD had declined to release the report to the public, claiming that since the investigation was ongoing, the police report did not fall under public record.


Such a stance is a misinterpretation of the law, though, said Elizabeth Hill, assistant ombudsman for the state of Arizona.


""An ongoing investigation itself is not an appropriate justification for not releasing those records,"" Hill said.


Such records are presumed to be open and can only be held confidential if the records holder demonstrates in Superior Court that the release of the documents would be detrimental to the case and the best interests of the state, or if privacy rights would be violated, according to precedent set by the 1993 case of Cox Arizona Publications Inc. v. Collins.


If UAPD had continued to keep the records closed past Oct. 30, the deadline would have passed for the Greek Judicial System to investigate the case and call a hearing with Phi Kappa Psi, Nirh told the Daily Wildcat on Tuesday.


UAPD Records Custodian Luis Puig said the public records situation was a misunderstanding, saying, ""We want to be open to the public.""


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