Early last month, business owners all over an area of western Iowa had their copies of the Dickinson County News newspaper disappear, within a day of them being delivered to them for sale. They knew something was up. Then they checked their video surveillance and found one masked, newspaper-hungry bandit.

One of those businesses was a Shell station in Spirit Lake. According to NorthwestIowa.com, on Thursday, September 3 at 12:49 p.m., Peter De Yager asked the cashier for a gift card. When she turned around to get it, he grabbed all of the newspapers in the stack and headed for the parking lot. After safely tucking them away in a vehicle, he went back inside. He didn't purchase the gift card, though.

The Shell station wasn't the only place that the 70-year-old De Yager, who owns Foreign Candy Company in Hull, Iowa, hit that day. He also took them from Dickinson County News vending boxes outside stores, as well as from inside a Jiffy station, Fareway, Hy-Vee, and Kum & Go's in both Spirit Lake and Okoboji.

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If you're thinking, 'I bet he was in that newspaper and didn't want anyone to see it,' I believe you're exactly right.

Northwest Iowa says De Yager was part of the police reports in that September 2 edition of the Dickinson County News. He had been charged with a pair of misdemeanors for allegedly stealing a Joe Biden for President sign. De Yager originally said he was innocent, but pleaded guilty on September 21. He paid a total of $365 for theft and trespassing.

The Jiffy station that De Yager stole papers from filed charges against him in mid-September. He pleaded guilty last week. Part of the ruling, which fined him $105, said that De Yager must pay restitution. Most other businesses are just insisting he pays them back for the cost of the papers. At this point, some have received money, and some have not.

De Yager was a regular customer at some of the businesses he nabbed the papers from, including the Okoboji Kum & Go. The store's general manager, Tracy Theye, told Northwest Iowa De Yager sometimes brings sweet treats to her employees.