Sheriff Al Lamberti Uses Facebook to Catch Coupon Thieves; Sun-Sentinel Has the Scoop

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When the Pulp tried to ask Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti a question about campaign donations on his Facebook page last month, the sheriff responded sternly, unfriended our editor, and removed the post. In his initial response, he wrote, "This is my personal Facebook page and you are disrespecting my prior posts that I do not mix personal with business."

Well, not always. But when there's a real crime to solve -- like somebody stealing the Sunday coupon inserts from Sun-Sentinel and Miami Herald vending machines -- he's ready to ignore that work/personal barrier and spring into action.

Update: Just to clarify, the defriending occurred on Lamberti's personal page. The coupon alert went out over his fan page. Meanwhile, back on his personal page, Lamberti has linked to this post. "Don't forget to comment if you've had your coupons stolen," he says. Some of his fans have added their opinions of New Times as well.

It was a great way to get publicity: This story is like crack to the daily newspapers, which scrape in much of their remaining earnings through the coupon section, and love feel-good, gee-whiz stories like this one.

"I got the initial complaint on my Facebook page," Lamberti told Doreen Christensen of the Sun-Sentinel. "Someone sent me a message and said "I can't believe this. I spent a $1.25 for the paper and got home to find that I had been ripped off and the coupons were gone. Can you do something about this?"

Lamberti sprang into action, posting this Facebook update:

Al Lamberti
has received a number of private messages about coupon theft from the Sunday paper. I didn't realize this is becoming a major problem in a tough economy. An Internet search reveals that this "quality of life" crime has been sparked by extreme couponing and the very slim possibility of arrest for stealing. Thoughts anyone? Have a great day.

BSO says it apprehended two coupon hoarders, Adolfo Rodriguez and Wilmian Milian, and charged them with misdemeanor retail theft.

Lamberti says it's important to prevent this type of crime, citing poor mothers who spend $1.50 on a Sunday paper for $30 to $40 of savings per week.

Since his posts, local TV stations have started catching coupon thieves in action. With a record like this, he'll have no trouble being reelected!

Follow The Pulp on Facebook and on Twitter: @ThePulpBPB. Follow Stefan Kamph on Twitter: @stefankamph, and Facebook.

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