Extreme Couponer Says Target Ruined Her

     McKINNEY, Texas (CN) – An “extreme couponer” sued Target, claiming it maliciously prosecuted her on bogus claims that she cost it $26,650 through fraudulent coupons.
     Elyse Rumenapp says that all of the coupons she used were legitimate, that Target should have known it, and that defending herself from its malicious charges cost her two years of her life, her life’s savings, and that the stress of her felony trial caused her to lose her unborn baby.
     Rumenapp learned extreme couponing in November 2012, from a cable TV show. “Couponing is an activity that combines shopping skills with couponing in an attempt to save as much money as possible while accumulating the most products as possible,” she says in the Dec. 8 lawsuit in Collin County Court.
     Rumenapp, 26, says she “joined a couponing club with a number of other women from the community,” and got so good at it that sometimes she could go shopping and come home with more money than she left with.
     She couponed twice a week at a Super Target in Wylie, near Dallas, from November 2012 until mid-January 2013.
     “Each time Elyse would go shopping she checked out with multiple carts filled with items and dozens to hundreds of coupons needing to be scanned,” she says in the complaint. “This resulted in long checkout times, lasting an hour or more. There were some Target checkers that reacted poorly to shoppers who came through their lanes in the above fashion. They would not take the time to apply coupons correctly, they attempted to rush transactions, and were rude to Elyse and other women who couponed at the store.”
     One cashier, though, Darrien, was patient and helpful, Rumenapp says. Another helpful employee, Matthew, a team leader, assisted them by being present to type in a manual override for coupons worth more than $10. So she and her fellow couponers made sure to go through Darrien’s line, and she would even call ahead to see that he was working on one of her shopping days.
     Among the lessons she learned, Rumenapp says, was how to get more coupons online from a Target app. She says that when a suspicious store manager questioned her about where her coupons came from, she offered to show him how to get them online.
     Her last day of extreme couponing there was Jan. 15, 2013. On Jan. 29, she says, Target’s asset protection manager, co-defendant Jeremy Martin, reported her to the Wylie Police Department for theft.
     She was arrested at her workplace, a Baylor hospital, on Jan. 31, 2013, and Matthew and Darrien also were arrested. All three were charged with theft of property worth more than $20,000 and less than $100,000 Rumenapp says in the complaint. She was jailed on $50,000 bond, according to a public database.
     Police also executed a search warrant that day at her home and at her parents’ home, and seized property – quite a bit of it – and returned it to Target, Rumenapp says.
     She then spent the next two years – and her life’s savings – defending herself from felony theft charges. “Target alleged that they suffered a loss of $26,647.95 from four shopping trips between January 1, 2013 and January 5, 2013. Target claimed that this loss was the result of fraudulent coupons presented by Elyse Rumenapp. They allege she was assisted in her theft by the help of team members Darrien … and Matthew,” according to the complaint.
     Rumenapp says she was acquitted on Dec. 9, 2014, and the stress of the criminal trial caused her to miscarry her child a week later.
     She says Target and Martin had no probable cause to arrest and prosecute her, that all her coupons were legitimate, and that Target and its employees should have known as much about Target coupons as she did.
     “Other than the time Target manager Richard spoke to Elyse about her mobile coupons, the defendants never bothered to stop or question her while she was in the store regarding her couponing or purchases before having her arrested and prosecuted for this felony,” according to the complaint.
     Rumenapp wants her property back, plus punitive damages for malicious prosecution and conversion. She is represented by Scott Palmer of Dallas.
     Target did not respond to emailed requests for comment over the weekend.

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