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Newspaper arrest

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Given the state of newspaper readership today, you’d think publishers would be thrilled to learn their papers are still in high demand. Unless, that is, someone is taking stacks of newspapers without paying, just to get at the coupons inside.

Police in Baxter County, Arkansas have charged a local woman with doing just that. 50-year-old Kelli Steffens of Mountain Home, Arkansas was arrested on Friday and charged with stealing around 300 newspapers from coin-operated newsstands over a seven-month period beginning last October.

The county sheriff’s office was tipped off by a newspaper deliveryman, who reported in March that 13 copies of the Baxter Bulletin’s weekend edition had been stolen from a newsstand. The deliveryman “indicated this same kind of theft had been occurring on most Saturdays, which is the day that manufacturer coupons are included with the newspaper,” a police report noted.

Two weeks later, surveillance footage showed “a female suspect driving up in a white passenger car, getting out and walking up to the newspaper box, depositing coins to open the box, then removing a whole stack of newspapers while having paid for only one paper.”

Police appealed to the public to help identify the suspect, and the public came through, with one tipster identifying her as Steffens.

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When questioned by investigators, police say Steffens admitted to being the person shown in the video, and admitted taking the newspapers “for the purpose of getting coupons.” It’s not clear whether the coupons were for her own use, or for reselling.

Newspaper theft is nothing new, of course, and thievery for the purpose of getting extra coupon inserts became more commonplace after extreme couponing became a thing a few years ago. Some overextreme couponers have even been charged with stealing thousands of newspapers.

So Steffens’ alleged crime is relatively small potatoes in comparison. But it does show that coupon theft is still going on – and that authorities still take it seriously.

Steffens has been charged with misdemeanor theft, and was released on $1200 bond pending a court appearance later this month. She faces potential jail time and a fine if convicted.

So she might want to start saving up for that – possibly by clipping coupons.

But then that’s what got her into trouble in the first place.

Image sources: The Baxter Bulletin / Baxter County Sheriff

One Comment

  1. WoW that is so crazy! I never heard of such a thing as stealing coupons! ! I didn’t.know that people even buy coupons too. I “try” and clip coupons thinking.I will save a few pennies on some items next shopping trip but I always forget to show the coupon or I’ll forget all about it & when I go to use the coupons they’re already EXPIRED happens to me all the time… This is just crazy,no wonder why whete I live “IF” you want to buy a newspaper you’ve to go inside the store to purchase it….

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