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Food stamp rule frustrates police in North Dakota

Published 05/09/2009, Associated Press

John Schweitzer swiped his credit card, bagged his groceries and walked out of a Wal-Mart without his wallet. When he returned a moment later, it was gone. Schweitzer's misfortune should have been an open-and-shut legal case. The thief was caught on video surveillance, and he used his own food stamp swipe card to pay for groceries before leaving with Schweitzer's wallet. But a federal law prohibiting the disclosure of information about food stamp recipients — even to law enforcement, unless a specific name is provided — meant it would take months and a lot of legwork before an arrest was made.

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