The Suffolk Times has obtained a copy of surveillance footage of a woman entering the 7-Eleven on Roanoke Avenue in Riverhead and buying all the copies of the Sept. 22 edition of both The Suffolk Times and the News-Review last Thursday.
Last week store owner John Biancaniello confirmed that a woman had entered the 7-Eleven and purchased all the remaining copies of those papers.
The woman said she was using the papers to move, though she did not buy any copies of Newsday or The Southampton Press, which are also on sale at the store, he said last week. The Suffolk Times and the Riverhead News-Review, both Times/Review publications, sell for $1.50 per copy while Newsday costs 75 cents and the Southampton Press is $1.
Some 30 newspaper dealers called last Thursday and Friday to report the paper had sold out from Calverton to Orient, circulation manager Laura Huber said last week. Two different people were hitting up the stores, according to reports from vendors. Those people were paying for the newspapers, not stealing them, company officials emphasized.
Ninety seconds into the nearly seven minute video the woman approaches the register and places a stack of newspapers on the counter. She then apparently tells the clerk she plans on buying additional copies and places the rest of the papers on the counter.
The unidentified woman, wearing a blue sweatshirt, jeans, white sneakers and glasses, pays for the papers in cash and then takes three trips to load them into the trunk of a green sedan.
It is not known if the woman in the video is involved with the other reported purchases.
In response to the buying frenzy, parent company Times/Review Newsgroup had another 5,500 copies printed last Friday afternoon.
It was the first time someone attempted to buy every copy of an issue in the Mattituck-based business’ history, company officials said.
It was not clear what motivated the paper-buying frenzy, though Times/Review publisher Andrew Olsen said he did have suspicions.
“So far we have no hard proof,” he said. “But if it’s someone attempting to somehow silence our coverage or make an uncomfortable story go away, they’re wasting their time and their money. We will not be silenced.”