Woman Boldly Steals Coupons From Storage Locker For Extreme Purposes

Forget rooting around stacks of newspapers for coupons to steal or grabbing entire papers — we’ve seen that already. The new thing on the scene is just lifting stacks of coupons before they’re even inserted into papers, as one woman allegedly did in Pennsylvania recently.

Allegheny Township police say one woman repeatedly stole coupons, adding up a hefty theft of about $2,700 in one year. She figured out that the coupons were being delivered to a storage locker owned by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and went right to the source for her extreme couponing habit, reports local WTAE.com.

Once the woman found out where the coupons were dropped off and when they’d arrive, she’d simply show up at the unlocked storage locker and take bundles of coupons on several occasions over 17 months, say cops.

Delivery workers eventually wondered where those coupons were going, so they posted someone to keep an eye on the locker and notified police when the suspect showed up. She’s been charged with burglary, theft and related charges.

*Thanks for the tip, Bruce!

It Adds Up: Couponing Allegedly Taken To Criminal Level [WTAE.com]


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  1. az123 says:

    Not that the woman was in the right, but they seriously left stacks of coupons sitting in an unlocked storage unit?

    Of course had the woman not been greedy and taken huge numbers each time then they probably would have never noticed, though how addicted to coupon use do you need to be in order to track down the delivery path to the newspaper they follow!

    • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

      Yeah, that seemed strange to me, too. How expensive is padlock these days?

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        They should put on one of those 4 digit combination locks and give the combination to ever needs it. I’ve observed several businesses do that from my time dealing with storage units.

        • jrwn says:

          While working at Uhaul, just leave the boxes with the office to hold until the unit owner comes. We had 2 keys, one we held, one the unit hold had. We had a couple of people who left the keys with us, but we knew who to give it out to.

          • mearow says:

            A combo lock would work well. Getting a key from the owner wouldn’t work, as carriers need access in the wee hours of the morning. When I delivered the Seattle Times, I’d arrive at the drop off location at between 11 pm and 3 am.

        • maxamus2 says:

          Yeah, and make the number 1234

    • mearow says:

      The storage locker was probably for a group of local carriers who would need access to the ads. There would probably be about 20 or so people needing access. Everyone could have a key, but I can see how not requiring a key would be easier for them. (I mean, before extreme couponing became popular, who would steal a bundle of ads?) The carriers receive the ads and the actual newspapers on different days. The ads would be dropped off a couple of days in advance and the newspaper would be dropped off as soon as it comes off the press on the day of delivery. They have to physically put each of the ads into each newspaper before delivering.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      I would love to see the inside of this woman’s house!!! Its more likely though if she was stealing stacks of coupons that she is reselling them on the internet though.

    • Quake 'n' Shake says:

      Who would have thought someone would steal coupons? Do people creep through a neighborhood early Sunday morning to steal the coupons from the newspapers sitting in the driveway?

      • Yomiko says:

        Yeah, actually. It’s the new fad among the crazies.

      • Jules Noctambule says:

        They take them from the papers at the grocery store, too. I always check the paper before I buy now just in case someone’s swiped more than their fair share of coupons.

        • drjayphd says:

          Same with my usual source (the local free weekly). Before, people would take the papers and leave the coupons (at least once in a nice, neat stack in the honor box). Now, the fuckwagon couponers take the coupons and throw the papers back into the box. I’ll take a few papers for the coupons, but I don’t put the papers back in there to give people false hope. (I also use the papers for packing materials.)

    • Coalpepper says:

      I have to wonder m’self. I work for a company delivering free magazines, and we always lock the storage unit, we simply give the trucking company the combination so they can deliver when we’re not there.

  2. u1itn0w2day says:

    Please tell me what supermarkets accept all these coupons without exclusion. I’ve lived in different parts of the country and have yet to find a supermarket chain that let’s you play extreme couponer.

    • Quixiotic... Yea it's a typo (‚ïج∞‚ñ°¬∞Ôºâ‚ïØÂΩ°‚îÅ‚îª says:

      Most extreme couponers depend on a supermarket that offers a rewards program so they’ll do their TLC worthy shopping when say the chain is doing a members get a match on every coupon which effectively doubles the coupon or some other incentive program.

      Very rarely (if ever) is it based on coupons alone.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Every supermarket has its rules for coupons and generally it doesn’t take much to find a way to follow those rules. The extreme couponers know the specifics for each store.

      In my area, I can give as many of the same coupon as I want at one store as long as they aren’t coupons that double (meaning face value $1+); 4 if they double. At another chain, I am limited to no more than 6 of the same coupon in any one transaction.

      I haven’t seen too many local supermarket chains that limit the number of coupons (similar or otherwise) as long as they aren’t doubling them.

    • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

      They don’t. The TLC show is a crock of shit that doesn’t explain that the stores being shown in each episode are specifically bending (or outright breaking) their own rules to allow the extreme shopping trips to take place.

      The stupid TLC show brought all of the kooks out of the woodwork and into the stores, which screws it up for those of us who actually practice responsible couponing. On the upside, it looks like a lot of these freeloader types have figured out that A) couponing takes effort and B) they’re not actually going to be able to get 900 candy bars for free at their local Safeway.

      What’s likely happening is that this woman is taking the coupons and then reselling them. There are a lot of listings on ebay for coupons. You can’t legally resell a coupon, however, you can offer coupons for free with a “service” charge for the labor of clipping, shipping, etc. It’s a skeevy business and I hope she gets slapped with the maximum penalties for theft.

  3. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Doesn’t burglary entail forcable entry? If it is unlocked, isn’t that just theft?

    • eezy-peezy says:

      Burglary describes unlawful entry, not necessarily forced.

      • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

        So the Hamburglar just has to unlawfully enter a McDonald’s?

        • kobresia says:

          He was permanently barred from the premises for molesting Fry Kids, so any time he shows his mug around there, he’s hamburgling.

    • rugman11 says:

      Burglary is the act of trespassing and doesn’t actually require theft. She’s been charged with theft for taking the coupons and burglary for “breaking in” to the locker (according to law, unlawfully entering an unlocked domicile is still burglary so long as the reason you are entering is to commit a crime).

      • LorgSkyegon says:

        Burglary is breaking and entering with the intention of committing another crime. It’s just usually theft

  4. legolex says:

    Because of all the coupon-ing my local Giant Eagle no longer accepts printed coupons. Meanwhile I haven’t found or used coupons in so long because manufacturers are just not giving them out anymore. No, I don’t want to save $1.00 on 4 boxes of a cereal that costs $5 a box, that’s not savings.

    So thanks extreme couponers, you’ve ruined it for everyone.

    • RandomHookup says:

      For the internet printed ones, I would blame the scammers first (though some might be extreme couponers). Stores have banned some of those for years before the extreme couponers popped up on the national radar. Too many people are playing games with the printed ones and there are just too many ways to manipulate them to get past cash registers.

      Insert coupon values are down so much that it’s not really worth stealing this many.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      I find maybe 10 coupons per month I can really make use out of to get a decently priced product on the common coupon internet sites. The insert coupons are not bad if you actually read the paper they come in, if you need the product and you are already going to buy it, and there isn’t a generic that works just as well for less than the price of the item + coupon. Since we actually read and use the paper in this household the insert coupons are just a bonus for us.

    • FrugalFreak says:

      no, the ones who put them out ruined it, people wouldn’t have resorted to such measures if the didn’t triple the must buy items while lowering the discount. Couponers are just trying to remain balanced as was before the industry decided to get greedier due to the notion lucrative profits must be maintained at explosive levels..

      • legolex says:

        I disagree, extreme couponers are taking advantage of coupons and make it into a game and in the end costing us regular couponers. Using a coupon shouldn’t involve a binder full of codes, spending two hours in a store, buying out entire stock etc.

        I compare the extreme couponers to the guy in FL who took back his abused ping pong table to Costco ten years later just because he could and people like that will make Costco change their policies. The extreme couponers have ruined couponing for everyone because they abused it.

    • Difdi says:

      A better comparison is perishable goods. Yeah, getting $0.25 off each package of normally-$5 items isn’t so bad…unless you use one package per week, and they go bad in less than four weeks. Then you overspent by at least $4.75, in which case just buying one without the coupon would have been a FAR better deal.

  5. Such an Interesting Monster says:

    How do you charge someone with theft of something that has no value? I’m not saying she shouldn’t be charged, but how does one determine the value of something that clearly states it has none?

    • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

      I thought coupons had a value of 1/100th of a cent.

      If she stole 1,000 coupons a week (which seems possible, right? I have no idea), that is 10 cents. 4 times a month over 17 months, that is $6.80.

      So yeah.

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        Really? Then you think you could go to a printer and have coupons printed on glossy paper for 10000 sheets for a dollar because the coupon on them has a face value of 1/100 cent?

        • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

          Well, newspapers aren’t glossy, and you can fit dozens of coupons on a single sheet of paper.

          Plus, when printing in bulk, it’s cheaper than going to a printer and requesting just 40 sheets (adjusted for 25 coupons per page).

          • TheMansfieldMauler says:

            Um, that isn’t really the point.

            These were coupon inserts, not coupons printed in the paper. So they were most likely printed on 2-sided glossy paper in 4-color process. If you know where I can get those printed for 1/100 cent each, please let me know.

    • Bsamm09 says:

      Just because you state that something has no value doesn’t make it true. You could look at comparable sales on Ebay or similar to determine what people are paying for things. Not an exact science though.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      If it has no value then why was she stealing it?

    • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

      Maybe the company that printed the coupons had to reprint them, incurring additional costs to do so. Thus the physical printed paper would have had value to the rightful owner, even if the coupons themselves had no cash value to the consumer.

      Also, cash value in the coupon sense isn’t the same as actual value, and likely is treated differently by the courts.

    • blacketj says:

      The coupons have value to whomever printed them.

      Coupons are promotional items intended to be distributed as the advertiser chooses. The advertiser paid for the paper, printing, shipping, handling, and storage of those coupons so that they could advertise to their potential customers.

    • SBR249 says:

      The coupons may not have “cash value” but the paper it’s printed on and the ink that it was printed with does so does the cost of the labor required to print it. When all is said and done, until someone buys that newspaper with the ad insert, the insert remains the merchant’s property and taking it would be theft of something of value.

    • Difdi says:

      You’d have to steal an awful lot of coupons in one go to exceed petty larceny, given coupons have a face value of $0.0001 each. The thing about criminal charges is they don’t aggregate that way. Each theft is a separate charge of petty larceny, which in my state, would be a maximum of 3 months in prison per charge if convicted. Yeah, that adds up, but you can’t add 20 petty larceny charges together to get enough value to make one full-on felony charge.

      To make a felony charge out of the value of coupons, you’d need to steal at least 40,000 coupons in a single theft.

  6. sparc says:

    now we know where all the grocery coupons being resold on the internet are coming from…..

  7. FearTheCowboy says:

    Don’t the coupons usually state “Has no cash value” or “Cash value 1/20th of a cent” … probably makes her whole haul $10 in cash-value coupons

    • Blueskylaw says:

      Here are 2 explanations for the coupons value:

      Those were the days of depression, say around 1937. Food items were distributed as ration. Books of Stamps (like coupons) were issued to citizens. Some merchants were smart. They claimed that their books of stamps were worth much more than they really were. They would then sell merchandise through catalogues at greatly inflated prices.
      This caused problems. Because both the cash value and redemption prices (in stamps) were greatly inflated, honest stamp issuers were at a competitive disadvantage, because their own books of stamps didn’t seem to be worth much in buying power compared to others.
      Several states tried to eliminate these injustices by making all books of stamps – and anything of value that might be used to reduce the price of a product, have a common value. Grocery coupons fell into this category. Kansas State enacted most stringent law. Kansas law overrides the terms and conditions of the coupon for residents of the state and says that if no cash value is stated on the coupon, the consumer may cash in the coupon of face value. (That means, a 50 cents coupon for Tide detergent liquid can be encashed in Kansas for 50 cents if no cash-value is printed on it).
      Manufacturers had two choices: make separate coupons for Kansas, or print a cash value on every coupon. Do folks really try to redeem coupons for the lofty sum of 1/100th of a cent? Hmmm… I don’t think anybody will do that.

      Coupons are given a cash value in order to comply with laws in a few states that classify them with trading stamps. As I assume you know, the cost of trading stamps to the merchant is always incorporated into the price of his merchandise. Since you’re paying for them whether you want them or not, some jurisdictions require that the stamps be redeemed in cold cash if the customer so demands. Coupons are a little different than trading stamps, of course, but the law is the law. The cash value is set high enough to be legal, but low enough so that nobody will actually bother to collect the things.

      • Difdi says:

        Which means that if the cutoff point between misdemeanor theft and felony theft in your state is (arbitrary, hypothetical) $400, someone would need to steal at least 40,000 of those 1/100th of a cent coupons in a single act of theft to make it a felony. A coupon is literally worth less than the paper it is printed on, and this is simply an unintended consequence of the law. But it is the law.

        • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

          Using your example, would you mean 4,000,000 coupons @ 1/100th of one cent to make $400?

  8. redskull says:

    Don’t any stores ever question how a customer is able to obtain so many of these coupons, especially when they have one hundred of the same one?

    If you came into a store with one hundred different coupons, that seems somewhat feasible. There are probably close to that number in the Sunday paper supplements. But one hundred of the SAME coupon would make me suspcious.

  9. SeattleSeven says:

    You know…

    Shoplifting seems like a lot less work, plus the risk is minuscule if you aren’t an idiot.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      Not to mention in most places if you shoplift and you are a minor the consequences are nothing more than a slap on the wrist, the extreme couponer could simply have her child do the shoplifting for them. Then if they get caught act like she is going to punish the child to the authorities when in reality they are working as a team.

      • Difdi says:

        Many places that slap child thieves on the wrist have very draconian laws about what to do with Fagins. Therefore having your child steal for you is a very, very bad idea.

  10. Outrun1986 says:

    In my area it physically cannot be done, we don’t have the right stores to extreme coupon at. Also you won’t be getting product for free, since we don’t have any grocery stores who have loyalty points or get free stuff if you buy certain things programs. Yes the stores here have loyalty cards but you don’t get anything for them. If you are trying for CVS/Walgreens/Rite Aid good luck with that as the sale items are almost ALWAYS gone as soon as the store opens with no restock until next ad release day. I am not standing in line with other extreme couponers to get into a store at store opening for a few sale items. I don’t even have a CVS close by.

    If you are using coupons here, you will be paying money for the items, there is no getting items for free as on the shows. So therefore it just makes sense to use the coupons for what you will buy anyways and not to buy hundreds of things just because you have coupons for the items, which is wasteful and unecessary. Spending $10 on item x when you already have 100 of item x in the house and your pile is not dwindling is wasting money, especially if you don’t have $10 extra that week to spend on the item because you simply don’t need any more.

  11. Judah says:

    How is this considered theft at $2700? Coupons have no cash value. I can see vandalism and trespassing, and maybe other charges too, but not a high dollar amount of theft. I’d think the highest amount they could charge on the theft would be the charge of printing the coupons, not some arbitrary value.

    • FastFingers says:

      Theft is taking something that doesn’t belong to you. Those coupons were not hers. She didn’t buy them, make them, or receive them as gifts. She went onto someone else’s property and stole them. It doesn’t matter WHAT the value is, it matters that she trespassed, let herself into someone else’s storage locker, and took what didn’t belong to her.

      By your logic, if someone let themselves into your open window in the middle of the night and stole a paper bag full of your family photographs, there would be no value to them (besides a few cents apiece in printing costs), so therefore no crime was committed. Ditto with a plastic bag full of a loved one’s cremated remains. They may have no value to anyone ELSE, but they have value to YOU, and they were secured behind closed doors IN YOUR PRIVATE PROPERTY.

      The fact is that she stole them, whether they have value or not. SOMEONE paid for their printing and distribution. EVERYONE who buys a Sunday paper expects to get those coupons, but will be cheated of them. So there ARE victims here, whether or not the paper itself holds intrinsic value.

  12. pythonspam says:

    “Allegheny Township police say one woman repeatedly stole coupons, adding up a hefty theft of about $2,700 in one year.”

    If the coupons are only worth 1/100 of a cent, that means she stole 27 million coupons!

  13. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    The Bay dept store in Canada used to (still does?) insert Bay Dollars coupons ($5,$10,$20 off denominations) in with their credit card statements. Good for $ off on one day or one weekend only. Some customers would come in with a stack of fan-fold coupons that had not been separated. Staff were instructed to accept them and ask no questions.

  14. mcgyver210 says:

    Throw the book at these Extreme coupon-ers for theft when they do crap like this & they might stop Gee-sh.

    Maybe a good punishment would be that she is banned from using coupons for life & if she is caught using one she goes to prison no stop go. These extreme idiots are making it where normal people that use coupons as the manufactures intended wont even have access to them.

    My wife said she was behind one that even laughed saying I don’t even need half of the stuff I have in my buggy. I just got the stuff to keep others from using a coupon to get it before me.