RALEIGH -- The popularity of a reality TV show about bargain hunters is being blamed for an increase in stolen Sunday newspapers across the country, including a spike in thefts at North Carolina's two largest dailies, The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer.
"Extreme Couponing," which began airing regularly on the TLC network in April, shows shoppers using hundreds of coupons to amass stockpiles of grocery items at a fraction of their regular cost.
The increase in local thefts coincides with the debut of the television show, said Jim Puryear, vice president of circulation for The News & Observer.
"There's a lot of theft out there," Pur year said. "One of the things we're beginning to do is move papers inside stores versus the outside racks, because some people are buying one paper and helping themselves to the rest. There's a big drive now for people who want four, five, six copies of the paper."
In news reports about thefts across the country, circulation managers and contractors have all noted a correlation between the increase in thefts and the airing of "Extreme Couponing."
One of the more serious cases involved the arrest of an Arkansas woman who stole 185 unsold copies of The Springdale Morning News outside a grocery store. She was charged with misdemeanor theft. A Boise woman also was charged with theft after she was caught stealing copies of The Idaho Statesman from a newspaper rack.
In many cases, Puryear says, it's the newspaper carriers who lose money, and carriers are reporting big losses.
Read the complete story at newsobserver.com