NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The editor of one of Tennessee’s most prominent LGBT newspapers says whoever is deliberately removing papers from the newspaper stand is committing a hate crime.
Out and About Nashville can be found at close to 140 outlets around Middle Tennessee with more than 30,000 readers each month.
Over the years, the stands have been vandalized and some papers removed.
But in the last two months, there have been multiple incidents of theft. They all center around the newspaper stand at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
James Grady, the editor of Out and About, told News 2 the thefts are deliberate.
“Someone is taking it into their own hands to see that a LGBT newspaper is not in the hands of interested readers be it gay, straight, bisexual, transsexual,” explained Grady.
According to Vanderbilt University police, an unidentified man was captured on surveillance video taking the newspapers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Police said the suspect cleaned out one of the newsstands in early December.
Investigators said he reportedly did it again Monday, this time emptying the box on the second floor and another box outside the lobby. Every single copy of the magazine was taken.
Out and About is a free paper if you take one. However, readers are required to pay $.50 if they get more. The editor for the paper said this is not about money. He believes someone is targeting the gay and lesbian community.
“Any crime that targets a minority group in my opinion is a hate crime. We don’t have papers disappear in mass. I don’t believe there is any other explanation for month after month emptying of our boxes. There is no other explanation than it is a hate crime,” said Grady.
According to Vanderbilt police, the suspect is a white male and appears to be around 45 to 50 years old. He’s also 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 170 pounds.
Anyone with information about the suspect is urged to contact Vanderbilt University Police Department at 615-322-2745.