A 17-year-old former WPRB disc jockey has been charged with theft for allegedly stealing hundreds of compact discs from the radio station after selling some of them to a local record store, WPRB officials said yesterday.
Princeton Borough Police believe that a total of 240 CDs, with a value close to $2,000, were taken during Winter Recess from the station's music office in Holder Hall. The person charged – whose name was not released because he is a minor – is a local resident who was employed by WPRB for the past two summers, according to station manager Caroline O'Meara '98.
Before being released by the station, the alleged thief was the station's jazz director and, most recently, the host of a reggae show, said WPRB's incoming station manager Brian Kei '99.
The majority of CDs taken from the WPRB offices were not among those the station regularly plays but rather were largely unwanted CDs the station receives from record companies, said incoming program director Evan Bates '99.
"We get bombarded with CDs from all directions," Bates said, adding the station often receives about 100 CDs each week.
Station officials believe the alleged thief also picked through mail and packages received by the station over break before they had been sorted.
The CDs the station decides not to put on its play list end up in large bins that dominate an entire room in the station's offices.
Periodically, WPRB officials clean out the stock by taking car-loads of CDs to the Princeton Record Exchange and selling them in return for store credit. Bates said the suspect performed a similar act, though he had not been authorized to conduct such sales, even as an employee of the station.
Station officials believe the theft occurred while the music office was unlocked during parts of break.
Bates said the station found out about the stolen CDs about two weeks ago when staff members began to notice that some bins of CDs were missing.
"I think we'll feel it in about a month," O'Meara said, explaining that station officials still do not know exactly what impact the theft will have on WPRB's music selection.
According to a manager at the Record Exchange, the store is always careful to check to make sure that those selling CDs to the store from WPRB have the proper identification.
When O'Meara checked the Record Exchange's books, she discovered the former employee listed as the seller of at least $300 worth of music to the store.
It is believed that the suspect did not identify himself as a WPRB staff member when making the sale.
WPRB is currently talking with the suspect's parents to negotiate some sort of restitution, O'Meara said.