Warren police investigate wooden nickel theft


Shop owners around Warren are warily watching out for Discover Warren “wooden nickels,” after approximately $450 worth of them were stolen from the Coffee Depot last Monday, Feb x3.

The nickels are a promotion held over the past two years by Discover Warren. They’re worth $10 each and are good for merchandise in participating stores across town. They were rolled out at Christmastime the past two years, but are good year-round; merchants who receive them are reimbursed by Discover Warren.

On or before Monday, Feb. 10, someone stole about nine bags of the coins (five per bag) from a counter at the Coffee Depot. Soon after, a man described as an older African American with a “friendly” disposition passed or tried to pass some of them at a few local shops. Word got out, and owners are now looking out for him; Katie Dickson of Discover Warren said shop owners are being advised to call the police if the man attempts to pass off stolen chips.

On a larger note, Ms. Dickson said she was saddened to hear about the thefts. She said the nickels were a fun, novel way to promote commerce in Warren. No one thought they would be stolen.

“When we came up with the program we did briefly chat about the possibility of theft but we were like,’Nah, let’s not worry. No one would do that!’” she said.

Though she said that most merchants have temporarily suspended use of the tokens while police investigate, Ms. Dickson said she’s still accepting them from her regular customers.

Police are investigating the theft.

Discover Warren


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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.