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Marketplace Foods

The good news is, a Wisconsin grocery cashier was awfully good at saving money with coupons. The bad news is, he used his coupons to save money on other people’s purchases.

31-year-old Andrew Mills was sentenced Wednesday to community service and counseling, in addition to having to pay back the nearly $3,000 he stole from his store.

Mills was arrested in January, after his manager at the Marketplace Foods in Rice Lake, Wisconsin suspected something was amiss. The manager told police Mills was caught on surveillance video, scanning coupons and pocketing the cash.

It’s hardly the first time a grocery cashier has been caught in a coupons-for-cash scheme (one Walmart employee even managed to pocket a quarter million dollars by regularly “redeeeming” coupons on products that were never purchased).

But Mills had a different, arguably smarter, strategy. He only used coupons on products that his customers had actually purchased.

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Police say Mills confessed that he would look through the Sunday paper each week, and clip coupons that he knew could be used at his store. He would then bring his coupons to work, and keep them handy. When customers would buy something without using a coupon, Mills would take a coupon from his stash and scan it for them – after they left. Then he’d keep the cash for himself.

The fact that Mills was scanning so many coupons with no customers present, was enough to raise suspicions. But he still managed to get away with it for about seven months, making off with a total of $2,981.17.

And then he’d spend it on lottery tickets. Police say Mills admitted to having a gambling problem, and using his coupon earnings to buy scratch-off tickets.

Mills was charged with felony theft, but he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. According to court records, he’s already paid back the money he stole. He was sentenced to one year of probation, ordered to complete 100 hours of community service, and instructed to attend Gamblers Anonymous counseling sessions.

And maybe someday he’ll even attend some coupon classes. After all, he’s already shown he has a knack for it.

Image source: Marketplace Foods

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