Arrests

Apr 16, 2012 10:12 PM

Four People Charged In Somerset Coupon Scam

Somerset Police say in just a matter of days, four people scammed a Kroger store out of $6,000. And they did it using coupons.

This is a first-of-its-kind case in Pulaski County, if not the state. Investigators spent months sorting through surveillance video and receipts before arresting a cashier and three customers accused using coupons for items they never bought.

In November, police say the cashier at the south Kroger was caught on camera overriding coupons for those customers in exchange for money and gift cards. Fast forward five months and detectives have enough evidence to make several arrests.

"As far as I know, this is the first time I've seen this happen," said Detective Christopher Gates with the Somerset Police Department.

Det. Gates can't release the surveillance video because of the ongoing investigation. He can show a receipt he says shows hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise Anita and Paul Chumbley bought, but only paid pennies for because cashier Sabrina Pitman would override their coupons.

"They were using coupons for items that they didn't even purchase and on several of the coupons, according to Kroger, Kroger didn't even carry the brand and they were still overriding and using the coupons and using coupons for things Kroger doesn't even carry," said Det. Gates.

Police say another customer, Tabitha Watters, would shop overnight to avoid being caught abusing hundreds of coupons.

"This is a receipt that stretches more than 20-feet long and a gallon and a half size zip lock bag full of coupons," said Det. Gates.

The four people have been arrested for what Gates called a "white collar crime". The suspects didn't go to jail this time and either don't have a criminal history or have non-violent previous charges. Still, it was a positive outcome for the Department.

"It's a very good, very good investigation, very good case for us," said Det. Gates.

LEX18 tried reaching out to each suspect, two of whom live in Somerset, while the Chumbley couple lives in Russell Springs, but we couldn't get through to any of them.

Gates expects this case to go to trial and says all four suspects are due back in court later this week.

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