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CVS-Patricia Cugini

There are some people who are so determined to get a hold of extra coupon inserts, that they swipe extra copies of the Sunday newspaper without paying for them. And there are several different strategies they’ve been known to use. Some buy a single newspaper from a coin-operated machine, then take all of them. Others find out where the delivery people pick up their papers, and steal them before the delivery people arrive. And still others stalk businesses in the dead of night, waiting for the delivery person to drop off bundles of Sunday newspapers, then take them before the store opens.

And then there are those who think it’s a great idea to pull up to a CVS in broad daylight, steal a stack of papers from right in front of the store, and drive off.

That’s what police in Carlisle, Pennsylvania say 49-year-old Patricia Cugini did one recent weekend.

Back on Saturday, May 14th, employees of a CVS store in the central Pennsylvania community noticed that copies of the weekend edition of the local newspaper that they usually received, were not in front of the store as they usually were. The local paper, the Carlisle Sentinel, prints a “weekend edition” that contains coupons and ads. It’s distributed on Saturday mornings and is available on newsstands and in stores all weekend.

But not that weekend, and not at that CVS. So store employees went to the videotape. Surveillance footage showed a woman driving up to the store in a red SUV shortly after 7:00am – about an hour before the store opened – and taking a bundle of newspapers sitting in front of the store. She loaded them into her vehicle and drove off.

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It took until this past weekend for police to tentatively identify the woman in the video. They arrested Cugini on Sunday, and charged her with theft by unlawful taking.

Investigators have released few details about the case, or what they believe Cugini planned to do with all of the coupons inside the papers. But Cugini is no stranger to local police. She has a lengthy criminal history going back more than a decade, with convictions for theft and retail theft among those on her record.

So maybe saving a few bucks by stealing a stack of newspapers was not the best choice. After all, the value of the coupons inside could have more than paid for the papers themselves. Plus, perhaps committing a crime during daylight hours, when cameras could get a clear view of the culprit’s face, was not the best choice either.

If convicted, Cugini’s sentence could hinge on how many newspapers are in a stack. The weekend edition of the local paper sells for $3. Under Pennsylvania law, theft of less than $50 carries a maximum sentence of one year imprisonment and a $2,500 fine. If the value of the items stolen is between $50 and $200, those maximum penalties are doubled. So the severity of any sentence could depend on whether a bundle of Carlisle Sentinels contains 16 newspapers or less, or 17 or more.

Either way, couponers in Carlisle who buy their newspapers at CVS can breathe easier, knowing that the papers won’t be gone before they get there anymore. Just as long as the CVS staff keeps a closer eye on them – before anyone else gets any ideas.

Image sources: Carlisle Police Department / JeepersMedia

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