How I Took My Revenge on the Newspaper Thief

Printer toner

After my newspaper had been stolen every morning for several weeks, despite the thief being caught red handed and being confronted about it, I decided to take a diabolical revenge on him. This is how I did it.

Before Christmas, a video went viral where a person had installed a glitter bomb inside packages that had been left outside the houses of several people. UPS and other delivery services leave them on the doorstep, and the result has been that in some neighbourhoods, thieves are driving around picking up these packages. And he was sick and tired of it.

He had also set up a camera that filmed the thieves when they stole the packages, and there was also a camera in each package. This made it possible for him to film the reaction of the thieves when the bombs went off and filled their cars with glitter.

It’s a really good idea, but as most people guessed, it was fake.

However, it did remind me of how I dealt with the dude who stole my newspaper every morning for weeks.

This happened over a decade ago. Me and my then partner were living in a block of flats, and we shared entrance with five other flats. Every morning, five newspapers were delivered, which meant that one of the occupants wasn’t a subscriber.

The paperboy used to put the papers on the stairs instead of leaving them in the mailbox (don’t know why) so they were easy pickings. After calling the newspaper to complain, they swore that the paper had been delivered. I had already started to suspect the guy driving around with a bumper sticker saying “Progress party – for law and order.” I mean, we all kneww that when the cable TV station forgot to censor the porn, you knew that the one who found out about it would be the neighbour who is a vicar…

One morning, my then partner even caught the culprit red handed, but it didn’t deter him from continuing his life of petty theft. So I came up with a diabolical scheme.

I was working in an IT department at the time. We had just gotten rid of the last printer that we had to fill up with bags of printer toner. As a result of this, we had several bags of printer toner that had to be thrown out. So, I took one of those home with me.

Printer toner is very, very fine powder. If you get it on your clothes, it’s almost impossible to get rid of the stain. You will have to use a stain remover that is so strong that you will likely get a stain from the stain remover instead. If you get printer toner on your fingers, you have to scrub it off your hands as quickly as possible, before you touch anything else with those fingers. In short: If this stuff latches onto anything, it won’t come off.

So, early one morning, I waited for the paperboy. After the newspapers had been delivered, I took one of them with me to my apartment. I waited until all the other papers had been picked up and walked down again with my paper. I unfolded it on the floor, opened the bag with printer toner, and poured it inside the paper. I then folded the newspaper very nicely and put it back on the stairs.

When I left for work a while later, the thief had been there. The newspaper was gone. But from that day, the newspaper was never stolen again.

A few days later I walked by the thief’s apartment, on my way up the stairs to my own place. His front door was wide open, and I could see two men in overalls in the process of removing his wall to wall carpeting in his hallway. On the carpet I could see a huge black stain, the kind of stain that will appear if someone is desperately trying to scrub off a substance that, as a result of the scrubbing, just sinks deeper and deeper into the fabric.

– Oh, are you redecorating, I asked the thief as he poked his head out of the door.

If looks could kill…


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