Cash, Coupon Giveaway Turns Dangerous

SHARON, Pa. (AP) - At least three people were hurt Saturday morning when some 2,000 people scrambled to catch $2 bills and coupons flung from a department store roof as a sales gimmick.

The cash-and-coupon drop was held in front of The Winner, a four-story department store. Five hundred $2 bills and 2,000 coupons were thrown from the roof in an effort to promote Winner properties and downtown Sharon, which is just across the Ohio border.

People, some armed with fishing nets, began gathering several hours beforehand. Once the money was thrown, the crowd became frantic, scrambling for the bills and coupons.

Several dived into the nearby Shenango River.

"I decided to go in the water, because that's where the money was," said Dan Nale, 21.

The injured included a 16-year-old girl who broke her foot when she fell from the roof of a diner where some of the cash had collected, and a 73-year-old woman who was knocked to the ground and treated at a hospital.

Also, a reporter from The Herald in Sharon was treated for head injuries after being shoved by people in the crowd.

Sharon Police Chief Thomas Burke said no charges were filed because the crowd dispersed soon after the money was dropped.

Businessman James E. Winner Jr., who had planned to hold the promotion every Saturday in October, said he won't be throwing money off the roof again.

"We had no idea on how it was going to evolve," he told The (Youngstown) Vindicator for Sunday's edition.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)