Penang newspaper vendors left reeling after serial thief strikes (Video)

GEORGE TOWN: Thirteen newspaper vendors have had to deal with a serial thief who has been stealing stacks of newspaper bundles from petrol kiosks and other drop-off points in the past few weeks here.

Already reeling from dipping circulation numbers owing to the rise of the alternative and online media portals, the vendors now also have to put up with daring thieves.

The theft was first noticed last Saturday, and since then the suspects have struck at least three times; carting away some 7,000 copies of various newspaper titles; including the Chinese vernacular, English and Bahasa Melayu ones.

The theft has left many vendors puzzled as there was not much value to be gained unless the culprits are selling it to recycle operators or the peddlers of old newspapers.

The thefts have been detected at several locations in Penang, usually around 4am to 5am in the pre-dawn hours.

The Penang News Vendors and Book Sellers Association president M. Murugesan told a press conference that the police need to act fast to prevent further incidents from recurring.

"We want to work with the police to prevent this from happening. We want to bring the culprits to justice and we seek advise from the police on it."

Murugesan also urged the operators of petrol kiosks and other drop-off points to provide some form of security so the newspapers can be secured or protected from being simply carted away.

The vendors have incurred loses of up to thousands of ringgit from such thefts.

It is believed that the recycle operators are now offering more money for recycled items in view of the state's push for a viable recycling industry here.

The association has lodged a police report here today.

A police spokesperson, who confirmed the case, said that they will probe the matter.

Below is a video of the alleged thief: