CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Leadership of a fraternity expressed remorse Thursday after members admitted to stealing more than 10,000 copies of a University of North Carolina student newspaper with a lead story on hazing at the frat, newspaper officials said.
The story in the stolen issues of the Daily Tar Heel detailed the recent campus suspension until 2009 of the Sigma Chi fraternity, which was found guilty of hazing violations by the university's Greek Judicial Board.
"I can't say enough how sorry we are about it," Doug Dyer, the fraternity's president, told the Tar Heel. "It was the wrong thing to do, and we apologize."
Several fraternity members came forward after the paper posted a notice on its Web site that it would pursue criminal charges. One copy of the newspaper is free, but a disclaimer inside states that additional copies cost 25 cents a piece.
"They didn't realize that their actions weren't only irrational and immoral, but also criminal," said Joseph Schwartz, the paper's editor in chief.
The fraternity chapter's president and vice president apologized to editors Wednesday and spoke with the paper's reporters, he said.
The fraternity also agreed to pay the newspaper "a four-figure settlement for restitution," Schwartz said, declining to be more specific. "We were able to reach an agreement was mutually beneficial."
The papers, about half of the 20,000 printed, were stolen from about 50 racks on and around campus, Schwartz said.
"Our papers are usually out by 7 a.m., but by 7:45 we noticed the papers weren't there. At that point we knew something had gone awry," Schwartz said. "We had our suspicions."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.