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Hundreds of copies of the Salt Lake City Weekly newspaper have come up missing after an unflattering cover story involving Taylorsville police officers was published in the paper last week.

As many as 1,000 copies were removed from street boxes in West Valley City and other areas ringing Taylorsville sometime between last Wednesday afternoon and last Thursday morning - possibly by someone connected to the Taylorsville police, said John Saltas, president and executive editor of the independent weekly.

"I do believe they were stolen and, yes, I suspect someone close to the story is behind it," Saltas said.

Taylorsville Assistant Police Chief Wayne Dial said he had not seen the story.

"I don't know about it, and I'm not sure what to respond to," Dial said.

The Weekly story was a critical look at the department's handling of a two-year dispute over ownership of a Boston terrier that began in 2006 with the arrest of Debbie Evans. The Sugar House-area woman was arrested by Taylorsville detective Casey Davies, who said the dog had been snatched by Evans' husband and his son.

Davies said the elderly dog belonged to Andrea Dirker, a Midvale police officer in the narcotics division, according to the Weekly. Evans claimed Dirker had stolen the terrier while it was in the care of a friend whose live-in girlfriend was Dirker. Dirker took the dog when she broke up with her boyfriend, according to the Weekly.

Evans was released from jail after six hours. No charges were ever filed against her. Jerry Conder, Evans's lawyer, told Weekly writer Stephen Dark the arrest was "an intimidation tactic to secure the dog for a fellow officer."

Theft charges pressed against Jim Evans were dropped then revived in March, possibly to foil a $1.5 million lawsuit Jim and Debbie Evans filed in 2006, according to the newspaper. A federal judge has put the suit on hold until the charges against Jim Evans are adjudicated, the paper said.

Theft reports involving the missing newspapers were filed with West Valley City police and the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Department on Friday.

The thief "could be anyone with the city government of Taylorsville. It could be someone within the Police Department of Taylorsville, a relative or a friend," Saltas contended.

The alleged theft is reminiscent of an incident in 1997 when then-Salt Lake District Attorney Neal Gunnarson threw a stack of Weekly papers into a trash bin after the paper published an uncomplimentary story about him.