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Jasmeika Simon

If you steal stuff from a store by intentionally misusing coupons, you might be ordered to give it back. If you create counterfeit coupons, you might be scolded and sentenced to probation. But if you punch a cashier who refuses your coupons – you’ll end up doing hard time.

That’s what has happened in the case of a Wisconsin woman who was charged with starting a brawl at a suburban Milwaukee Burger King, in a dispute over coupons.

23-year-old Jasmeika Simon has been sentenced to serve nine months behind bars, for her role in the altercation earlier this year.

Police in the town of Glendale said it all started when Simon’s mother, 41-year-old Latonia Howell, was placing an order back on February 27th. She wanted to use multiple coupons, but her cashier wouldn’t allow it. “She had about 12, but our policy is only one per customer,” the cashier said at the time. “She kept bothering me, and kept asking. I kept telling her I couldn’t do it.”

So police said Howell became irate. She allegedly stormed out of the restaurant, promising to bring her daughters back with her to help settle the matter.

And that she did. Simon and another daughter who was not ultimately charged, entered the restaurant and started berating the cashier. “You’re the one,” one of the daughters said, according to the police report. “Don’t ever disrespect my mom,” said another.

Then the condiments and fists started flying. Simon is seem on surveillance footage grabbing a box full of sugar packets and throwing it at the 16-year-old cashier. She followed that up by throwing a container of ketchup at her. Finally, according to the cashier, “the girl pushed past my manager, and began punching me several times in the face.”

The trio left, allegedly threatening to return with a gun, though they never did. The cashier was treated at a nearby hospital for bruises and a mild concussion. And police distributed the surveillance footage, asking for the public’s help in identifying the coupon-wielding attackers.

Simon and Howell were identified and arrested about a month after the incident. Howell was charged with felony physical abuse of a child, due to the cashier’s age. She’s due to stand trial next month.

Simon, meanwhile, pleaded guilty last month to reduced charges of misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct. And this week, she was given the maximum sentence of nine months imprisonment on each charge, to be served concurrently. She’s also been banned from any Burger King restaurant, ordered to participate in a “cognitive thinking program” and may be ordered to pay restitution to the victim. A restitution hearing is scheduled for later next month.

As coupon crimes go, trying to use a dozen coupons in a transaction pales in comparison to misusing thousands of dollars worth of coupons, or even creating counterfeits. But many in the industry have expressed frustration that the penalties for doing so, are often less than severe.

In the most recent example, a Florida couple was convicted this month for using more than $100,000 worth of fake coupons at Walmart and other stores, and selling their ill-gotten goods at local flea markets. Both were ultimately sentenced to a few years of probation and restitution – which some complain amounts to little more than a slap on the wrist and an order to give back what was stolen. “These penalties of probation only are a joke,” one commenter wrote in response to that story. “I guarantee if you wrote a counterfeit check for $140,000 to Walmart, you would get jail time.”

The same is apparently true, if you throw punches at a Burger King cashier. Trying to violate Burger King’s coupon policy may not be a crime, but attacking the cashier who tries to uphold the policy is. Ultimately, the law seems to frown upon fisticuffs more than it does coupon fraud.

In the end, misusing coupons, intentionally or otherwise, is inadvisable. But “fighting over coupons is stupid,” the Burger King cashier said.

And prosecutors no doubt hope that Simon, as she sits in a jail cell until early next year and works on her cognitive thinking, reaches the same conclusion.

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