News Rustler Hits Durango, Colo.

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

Who’s stealing all the vending boxes from Colorado’s Durango Herald?

Police think one man is responsible for the thefts afflicting the 9,588-daily-circulation Herald, and as Circulation Manager Gretta Becay tells the story of the disappearing racks, certain characteristics emerge.

First: He’s busy. The rack rustler is suspected in the disappearance of eight of them since November.

Second: He’s strong. “We’ve got the guy on videotape — unfortunately, it’s just his back — grabbing one that was just filled with Sunday papers,” Becay said. “He just picks this thing up and carries it off.”

And third: He’s a moron. Not only does he cart the entire box away, probably in a truck, Becay said, “Instead of just cutting the lock with a bolt cutter, he’s got a cutting torch and cuts out the whole [change box].” And after he’s destroyed the Kaspar Sho-Racks, which go for about $500 apiece, how much does he pocket from the change box?

“Oh, maybe $7,” Becay said.

The most frustrating thing is that in all but two cases, the racks simply vanish from the face of the earth, Becay said: “That’s what I want to know — where are the racks?”

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