The Growing Problem of Stolen Coupons
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The Growing Problem of Stolen Coupons

Posted on Friday, November 18th, 2011 at 8:12 am
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Although finding free newspaper coupon inserts is always exciting for an extreme couponer, it’s important to be aware of the risks of going overboard. Be sure you know when it’s okay to snag a few extra coupon inserts so that you don’t find yourself accused of newspaper theft!

Recent Incidents of Stolen Coupons

Several months ago, an extreme couponer from Springdale, Arkansas was caught stealing 185 editions of the Sunday newspaper for the coupons inside, totaling $231 in theft. Her charge? A misdemeanor for theft. The woman explained to the police that she was unaware that what she was doing was wrong. The extra newspapers were left outside a local grocery store for the newspaper carrier to pick up and return to the printing company. Unfortunately, the woman accused of theft was most likely unaware of this. So, before you snag any papers that appear to just be lying around, be sure to ask for permission to avoid any misunderstandings like this one.

Reports of missing newspapers have also been popping up in Idaho. The coupon inserts have been vanishing from newsstands and even from people’s front porches! One newspaper sales manager watched as a woman purchased one newspaper from a vending machine and then proceeded to take the coupon inserts from all the newspapers. Police in this area have been notified on the increasing problem of coupon theft and are now on the lookout for the cause of the disappearing coupons.

How to Play it Safe and Avoid Coupon Theft

Although these are extreme cases of coupon theft, it is very important to be aware of the law. If you buy one newspaper from the newsstand, be sure to only take the coupons that you honestly purchased. Just imagine if you bought a paper only to find out that all the coupon inserts were already missing! Yikes!¬†Again, don’t take coupons or newspapers that aren’t rightfully up for grabs. Here are several situations in which people may be stealing coupons without knowing it:

  • Taking the free papers off of driveways.
  • Taking multiple newspaper copies from the newspaper machines without paying for all of them.
  • “Double Stuffing” coupons into newspapers before purchasing them.
  • Dumpster diving for coupons without checking with the owner of the dumpster.
  • Taking newspapers from hotels, coffee shops, restaurants, etc. without asking – these papers may be intended for guests and customers only, but the owner may be happy to give them to you at the end of the day.

When in doubt, be sure to ask someone with the proper authority if it is okay to take some extra coupons you see lying around. By asking around, you’ll find you can come across plenty of extra coupons without having to take extreme measures. Good luck, couponers!

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