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Thursday
Aug112011

Newspaper Thefts on the Rise, Couponers to Blame

Glowimages/Getty Images(MOULTRIE, Ga.) -- Newspaper thefts are on the rise, thanks to extreme savers who want more coupons.

Moultrie, Ga., has seen a dramatic increase in thefts, especially of the Sunday edition that typically has more coupons than the weekday papers.

"There is like a coupon ring that they're doing. They want the coupons and get very obsessive with them," said newspaper carrier Michaelyn Blackwell who believes popular TV shows such as Extreme Couponing are to blame for the recent thefts.

Some thieves, she says, have started taking the entire newspaper vending machines that can each weigh as much as 100 pounds. Blackwell says she now chains the machines together to make them tougher to steal.

The report of rising newspaper thefts follows the arrest of an Arkansas woman on August 7, who stole approximately 185 newspapers, worth $231.25, to feed her coupon habit. Jamie VanSickler was charged with misdemeanor theft. She told officers she is part of a coupon club and that she did not know she was doing anything illegal, according to her statement on August 5. She claimed she was just trying to save money.

Extreme couponers behind the thefts who are preoccupied with price may want to consider the hefty cost of the crime. If caught stealing a newspaper, violators can face fines up to $1,000 over a paper that might have cost them 50 cents.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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