Penguin Random House has said it is “categorically and absolutely untrue” that it reported a copy of E L James' novel Grey stolen as part of a “publicity stunt.”
Following a statement from Kent Police that there was “no evidence… to suggest an offence has been committed”, several articles have appeared in the national press, implying that Penguin Random House reported the book had been stolen as part of a publicity stunt to generate hype for the release on 18th June.
“Was Grey ‘theft’ a publicity stunt?” appeared as a headline in The Mirror, while an article in The Telegraph was headlined: “’Theft’ of New Fifty Shades Book a Work of Fiction, say police,”.
A spokesperson for Penguin Random House said that it was “categorically and absolutely untrue” that the reported theft was a stunt to generate press.
Kent police are understood to have now passed the investigation back to Essex police, where copies the new Fifty Shades, told from the point of view with Christian Grey, were being kept. A spokesperson from Essex Police confirmed: "Essex Police received a report on June 8th of a book being stolen for a pallet which had been delivered to a warehouse in Colchester Road, Frating. An incident of theft has been logged and will be investigated."
The Telegraph reported that only a handful of people were allowed access to the Essex storage facility where the copies of Grey were being kept after being printed in Kent, but a security check on 8th June found that a package had been ripped open and a copy taken. PRH then reported the matter to the police.