Thieves hit newspaper stands hard

Published: Aug. 10, 2011 at 9:35 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 15, 2011 at 1:18 PM EDT
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MOULTRIE, GA (WALB) - If you needed another sign of how rough the times are, here's one.

There's a rise in theft in Moultrie that may leave you shaking your head.

Newspaper thefts are on the rise in Moultrie, especially the Sunday edition because of the coupons.

"There is like a coupon ring that they're doing. They want the coupons and get very obsessive with them," said Newspaper deliverer Michaelyn Blackwell.

Blackwell believes popular TV shows such as Extreme Couponing are to blame for the recent thefts.

"In my opinion you don't need 50 of the same thing. It's very extreme," said Blackwell.

Blackwell even said the newspapers aren't enough for some thieves, they've started taking entire machines.

"We don't leave money in them. We empty them regularly. So the most they will get is 75 cents or a $1.50. It's a small amount of change. It's not a vending machine," said Blackwell.

The machines weigh about 100 pounds each.

Blackwell had to resort to chaining them together, so thieves will not only stop stealing the paper but the machine as a whole.

"If they try to take this machine they're going to have to take two or three of them," said Blackwell.

Is the crime worth the penalty?

If caught stealing a newspaper, violators can face fines up to $1,000, all over a 50 cents paper.

"It's theft. It doesn't matter. Theft is theft. It doesn't change so the consequences are the same," said Blackwell.

One man was caught stealing a newspaper from the Moultrie Police station's mailbox and get this, when he was caught he had a pocket full of quarters.

The newspaper rack runs on an honor system and Blackwell just wants the public to be honest and do the right thing.

Here's something else you need to know.

When people steal newspapers from the rack, the delivery company has to pay for them.

Those missing papers can end up costing them big bucks.

Copyright 2011 WALB.  All rights reserved.