Couponing leading to newspaper thefts

(Photo courtesy dmdonahoo via Flickr)

There’s no doubt money is tight for many families. The depressed economy has a lot of Americans clipping coupons like crazy. TLC's reality show "Extreme Couponing” features shoppers who even dive into Dumpsters looking for coupons.

One found enough coupons to bring her grocery bill from more than $600 to $2.54.

But now, police say couponing is crossing the line to crime.

In Alabama, the town of Cullman says newspaper thefts are up 30 percent this year. In Georgia, they've seen a dramatic increase in thefts, especially for the Sunday papers chock full of coupons. Someone's swiping entire newspaper machines. They weigh 100 pounds each.

Arlington resident Patricia Dorsey says people steal her papers and coupons all the time.

“They steal my newspaper in my condo building,” she said. “I come down and my paper would be gone."

Extreme couponers behind the thefts may want to consider the hefty cost of the crime. If caught stealing a newspaper, violators can face fines up to $1,000 over a paper that might have cost them 50 cents.