By Cordell Whitlock
(KSDK) - Police in O'Fallon, Mo., said a series of garage sales led to a woman being charged Thursday with 14 counts of forgery.
Cynthia Madej would hold monthly garage sales in her neighborhood. Someone called police when they sensed something wasn't right.
"She had the best garage sale on the block," said Crystal Horrall, who lives across the street from Cynthia Madej.
Horrall said Madej's Saturday garage sales had customers lining up, some coming as early as 6 a.m.
The offerings were impressive: a vast selection of items including spring water, laundry detergent, feminine products, and diapers at discount prices.
When someone wondered why these garage sales only included new products sold in bulk they called police.
O'Fallon police officers showed up and took pictures at what turned out to be Madej's last sale.
Prosecutors said Madej orchestrated a scam that began with her buying coupons on the Internet.
"She would get the coupons, scan them into her computer and make them in bulk. (She would) take those coupons to different stores buy them at reduced cost and then sell them at the garage sale," said O’Fallon police Capt. Dave Balcom.
Madej is also accused of selling products obtained with those coupons on eBay under the member name "onlyway2shop."
Police recovered 2,100 items from Madej's home and 152 printed coupons for 14 different products. A flatbed truck was used to haul off the evidence.
Investigators don't know how long Madej's alleged scheme was operating but they are calling it profitable.
Police said Madej would only reproduce coupons offering free products or deep discounts.
A man who answered the door Thursday evening at her home said Madej wasn't notified about the charges against her and had no comment.