When staff at an elementary school in Stratford, P.E.I., set up a surveillance camera to catch the thief who's been making off with the school's newspapers, they weren't expecting the culprit to be of the four-footed variety.

Stratford Elementary School principal Kenny MacDougall told CBC Radio's Island Morning that the bundle of The Guardian morning papers has been occasionally disappearing since December.

'The fox came out from behind the oil tank and took the papers, and away it went.'
— Stratford Elementary Principal Kenny McDougall

Even changing delivery from the front door to the back of the school failed to thwart the thief, so he set out to catch the bandit red-handed with the help of a video camera.

And it worked. Sort of.

"Within 15 seconds of that paper being delivered out, almost as if it was waiting for it, anticipating the drop off, the fox came out from behind the oil tank and took the papers and away it went," he said.


Grade 5 teacher Meredith Cameron McIsaac took this picture of a fox at the school's entrance last May. (Meredith Cameron McIsaac)

"There's five papers so he must have quite a jaw on him or her to get the papers away ... There must be some den-making going on with those papers. Or maybe our Raise a Reader Program has been hugely successful and the fox is an avid reader."

MacDougall posted the video to Facebook on Monday afternoon. By Tuesday morning, it had been viewed more than 60,000 times and shared by nearly 900 people.

The papers are for students to read during the breakfast program and through the day.

Staff at the school are now working to figure out how to keep the papers out of reach of the neighbourhood fox.