• Theft of newspapers to suppress story?

    On Thursday, March 12, 2009, the Carmel Pine Cone was printed as usual at the press we share in Salinas. It was also distributed, but as of Friday, March 13, there were no copies of it to be found in the usual racks in Pacific Grove where it is distributed for free. It is unknown whether it was available in racks in other cities. To be honest, we didn’t notice because we subscribe online and it arrives as an email. We had already read it in its entirety when the theft came to light.

    On bulletin boards on the Internet, speculation is that all copies were stolen because of the following article, which we copied from the Pine Cone’s Internet site. The Pine Cone’s publisher also believes it was because of the article, and that someone wants to suppress the story and punish the Pine Cone.
    We are reprinting that article here just in case our readers missed it.

    P.B. man accused of raping unconscious disabled woman

    PINE CONE STAFF REPORT
    Published: March 13, 2009
    A Pebble Beach man turned himself in to Seaside authorities last week after Pacific Grove police obtained a warrant for his arrest.

    Thomas Pollacci, 49, whose family owns Ron’s Liquors on Lighthouse Avenue in downtown Pacific Grove, and who has frequently manned the counter there, is suspected of raping a woman and then leaving her at the hospital with a head injury nearly a year ago.

    The complaint, filed in Monterey County Superior Court by deputy district attorney Cristina Johnson in late February, accuses Pollacci of forcible rape of a woman too mentally and developmentally disabled to give legal consent and who was unconscious at the time. The alleged crime occurred April 21, 2008, and carries three separate charges, all felonies.

    Police tracked down Pollacci after he reportedly left the woman at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula with a head injury. In the following months, they gathered evidence — including having forensics specialists sweep the Lighthouse Avenue liquor store where he works — and interviewed the victim, who is not from the area.

    Neither officers, nor the district attorney’s office, would reveal any further details of the case. Pollacci, who police said is a registered sex offender, is set to appear in a Salinas courtroom at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, for his arraignment.

    Cedar Street Times chose not to print the information when it was originally faxed to us by the Pacific Grove Police Department, because when we contacted the Pacific Grove Police Department in an attempt to find more information beyond what we saw on TV station dispatches and in local daily papers, we were unable to learn anything new. We searched through the rumor mills of a year ago as well. We knew that by the time we went to press other newspapers would already have carried the story. In the meantime, we searched for corroboration of the allegation that Pollacci is a registered sex offender but he is not listed on the Internet as such. Which, of course, doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

    We intended to wait until the arraignment to give an updated report. We believe in “innocent until proven guilty” and we have not been allowed to see any of the evidence. But with the news of the alleged theft of the edition of the Carmel Pine Cone which carried the story, we are now reporting the story here and will do so in our written edition as well, in support of the Pine Cone.

    We have read the entire issue online and cannot think of another reason why that edition and no other, that newspaper and no other, would be taken from all its distribution points locally. The truth about the newspaper’s disappearance remains for the police to discern, but it if was a theft, we find it reprehensible. If the suppression of this crime story was the reason for the theft, it didn’t work.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on March 14, 2009

    Topics: Breaking News, Front PG News, Opinion, Police Log

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