WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Four arrested for stealing and selling coupons

Posted April 30, 2015

Red Plum coupons insert

Four South Carolina residents were arrested this week for allegedly stealing coupons from their local newspaper and then selling them online! Two of the men were arrested at the Spartanburg Herald-Journal distribution facility on Sunday when they were caught walking into the building through the loading dock and simply taking the coupon inserts from the coupon room. The other two people charged were accused of selling the stolen coupons online. According to an article from, they were charged with receiving stolen goods and accessory after the fact to a felony. One of the individuals arrested was a detention officer for the sheriff's department! It will be very interesting to see what happens in this case.

Stolen and fraudulent coupons cost manufacturers and retailers a good deal of money each year and honest couponers feel the effects. Have you ever bought the Sunday paper only to find out that the coupons inserts you expected were not in the paper? If the inserts were stolen at some point before you bought that paper, you are paying the price for someone else's crime. In the case of the South Carolina thefts, which had been going on for four months, there were probably many newspapers that did not have the coupon inserts they were supposed to include. As a couponer who has a weekly subscription to the Sunday paper, I would be very unhappy if the coupons were not in the paper because someone else was stealing them and then selling them online.

This type of theft is exactly why buying coupons from coupon clipping services have been frowned upon by the industry. Sites like Ebay have successfully worked with the Coupon Information Corporation to eliminate stolen and counterfeit coupons for sale. In the end, the safest way to make sure you are using coupons obtained legally is to buy the Sunday paper yourself.

What do you think? Should they all serve jail time, including those selling the stolen coupons?


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  • bean112455 Apr 30, 2015

    Buying papers without coupons happened to me more times than I care to admit, so now...I go to the store at the top of my road, I insert enough coins to buy my first paper, I check to make sure it has all my coupons, then I proceed to extract 2 more papers having the same. If they don't, I put them back and find one that does. I get my 3 papers off one pay and then I shut the door. I proceed to insert coins for my second paper and my third paper and I go home. I have done this for last year or more and I no longer come home empty handed for what I paid for. Wrong, right, or indifferent....I get the coupon inserts I am suppose to be getting and paid for.

  • csw Apr 30, 2015

    I think the people who bought the free coupons should be evaluated

  • Faye Prosser -WRAL Smart Shopper Apr 30, 2015

    cweaver1000 - too funny!

    expat in Brazil - that would be a serious penalty to pay!

    reneebkeel - I wonder if it was actually her own coupon and product selling site. It is sad to hear about the deals we can never find in stores ending up on yard sale sites.

    TJ84 - I also hope you get a complete paper this weekend.

    Thanks to all for posting!

  • reneebkeel Apr 30, 2015

    It is so sad that people will do this, and yes those of us who try to coupon correctly have to pay the price. I was approached by an individual in Harris Teeter during the last super doubles offering to give me some "extra" coupons she had purchased from an individual on line. She proceeded to give the then "sellers" info so I could get all the specific coupons I wanted. Just to see what this person was stating on her site, I checked it out. Not only is she selling coupons by the stack but she is selling what she gets with the coupons on the county yard sale site. No wonder I can never find an item at any of the stores in my area since it appears she has purchased every single item available from every store around.

  • quemaster Apr 30, 2015

    Your's is the best quote of the day! A little extreme but it made me laugh out loud, literally! Tell'em about it!

  • cweaver1000 Apr 30, 2015

    They should get life for this.

  • FlyingUnderTheRadar Apr 30, 2015

    I have had insert issues as well. My husband was kind enough to buy me a paper, and I didn't get to check it until well later in the day when I got home from work, thus I felt I had no recourse with the store where he got it...bummer!

  • TJ84 Apr 30, 2015

    Faye, I always had good service until 3 weeks ago. I don't know what happened either but I do hope I get a complete paper this weekend.

  • expat in Brazil Apr 30, 2015

    Death by 10000 coupon paper cuts :)

  • Faye Prosser -WRAL Smart Shopper Apr 30, 2015

    TJ84 - we definitely have different delivery people then because it is once in a blue moon that I don't get the coupons. I am glad you called the N&O. Clearly something is happening to your coupons. I hope you get them all this weekend.

    quemaster - I am so glad they got it straightened out. And good to have you (and everyone else) posting on the blog again!