Skip to comments.Pregnant mom says sandwich arrest was 'horrifying'
Posted on 11/01/2011 8:26:21 AM PDT by Mat_Helm
HONOLULU (AP) Nicole Leszczynski couldn't imagine that two chicken salad sandwiches would land her and her husband in jail and her 2-year-old daughter in state custody. But it happened five days ago, when the 30-weeks-pregnant woman forgot to pay for her snack while grocery shopping. "It was the most ridiculous chain of events that happened," she said while sobbing Monday. "It's still hard to believe what happened." Leszczynski, 28, and her husband Marcin, 33, were handcuffed, searched then released on $50 bail each. Their ordeal at the police station lasted a few hours, but their daughter Zofia spent the night away from her parents in a case that has sparked nationwide outrage and forced the Safeway supermarket chain to review the incident. The family had moved to an apartment near downtown Honolulu from California two weeks ago. Still settling in, they ventured out Wednesday to stock up on groceries, took the bus, got lost, and ended up at a Safeway supermarket. Famished, the former Air Force staff sergeant picked up the two sandwiches that together cost $5. She openly munched on one while they shopped, saving the wrapper to be scanned at the register later. But they forgot to pay for the sandwiches as they checked out with about $50 worth of groceries. "When the security guard questioned us, I was really embarrassed, I was horrified," she said. They were led upstairs, where the couple expected to get a lecture, pay for the sandwiches, and be allowed on their way. But store managers wouldn't allow them to pay for the sandwiches, she said. "I asked to talk to a manager and he said it was against their policy to pay for items that left the store," she said. "The security guard said we were being charged with shoplifting."
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About 25 years ago, somewhere, somehow, someone said, "show them who's in charge."
Safeway will pay up, no doubt, but I hope this family takes legal action against the store employees personally.
Very sad situation, but one where the blame can be placed squarely on the shoulders of the criminals who caused the hypervigilance.
Save the drama for your mama. Pay the fine, pay for the food you stole, and shut up about it.
It’s very true that grocery stores lose an enormous amount to shoplifters. I don’t blame them for being vigilant. There’s room, however for a little common sense.
I’d say the simple evidence that they ~kept~ he wrappers to be plenty of proof that they intended to pay for them and it was merely an oversight. If they had meant to steal them they could have just ditched the wrappers.
Sounds like Safeway overreacted.
That said . . .
1. At item from the grocery store is not yours until you pay for it. Couldn’t this woman and her husband have waited a few minutes until they finished shopping to eat?
2. The fact that this woman is a “pregnant mom” has absolutely nothing to do with incident. Mentioning it is a ploy for sympathy by the author of the story.
This was an over reaction, but, she should have just went to the register and paid for the sandwich before eating it. Stores get ripped off in big ways anymore.
Imagine if everyone went in and started eating stuff before paying.
Yea,I do the same with grapes and save the pitts to be scanned!What B.S.
They probably will sue, and get a nice tidy sum, in spite of the fact that they stole the sandwiches. If they had not been caught, it is unlikely they would have ever paid for them. Intent is hard to determine, but when facts are irrefutable and admitted to, as in this case, then they should have no case whatsoever. They have no one to blame but themselves.
That said, the store manager could have shown a little discretion, but there may be some history here that we are not privy to. Perhaps he already let them off twice before?
You bring up a very good point. This is Hawaii, after all. Lot of tourists and lots of shoplifting. Where I live, we’d all laugh about it and we’d pay for the sandwich. But that is why I moved to a rural area.
I have really learned to hate cities. I’ve watched tow trucks wait on main streets until 3:00 hits and start towing cars as fast as they can. I’ve watched cops sit in broad daylight and write as many tickets as they can at extremely confusing intersections.
In seattle, during lunch break I used to watch cars on fifth avenue come up to Pine with their right blinker on, not noticing the “no right turn” sign. There were multiple motorcycle cops waiting to ticket them. When they stopped for the light, I’d knock on their window and point to the somewhat obscured sign. I didn’t tell them the cops were there so that I could remain completely above board. I did mention that they may risk a ticket because the cops patrol that quite a bit.
I hate cities.
>>Id say the simple evidence that they ~kept~ he wrappers to be plenty of proof that they intended to pay for them and it was merely an oversight. If they had meant to steal them they could have just ditched the wrappers.<<
Where were the wrappers?
Personally, I would have just made them pay for the sandwiches, but my hubby brought up a great point, why didn’t the husband pay for the sandwiches as his wife ate one?
How long does it take to shop for 50.00 worth of groceries in Hawaii? Five minutes? Ten? Cost of living is pretty high there,
—At item from the grocery store is not yours until you pay for it. Couldnt this woman and her husband have waited a few minutes until they finished shopping to eat?—
In a “polite” world, people do that all the time. It is actually quite common.
—That said, the store manager could have shown a little discretion, but there may be some history here that we are not privy to. Perhaps he already let them off twice before?—
That right there is the question. Is there more to this story, or do we really just have a little Safeway Nazi running the show there.
I will admit that I have fed my babies out of the groceries I was going to buy. I’ve handed a cashier a bag and stated that there used to be two dinner rolls inside. But that’s just it, I left it in my hand while I shopped and paid for what they ate.
It’s just not that hard. AND there were two people involved.
She was a staff sergeant in the AF. Forgetting the jokes about zoomies in general, I have found sergeants in general to be up front and trustworthy. Point in her favor.
Everyone is jumping on Safeway. I am wondering why the police didn't release one of them to their own recognizance - a $50 bail? - and let the other one take the child home.
If they store blamed the Mom for stealing the sandwiches, then Dad is OK to take his own daughter home. Or used to be when I was younger.
If both were charged equally, then why the $50 bail in three hours? Since when has a theft under $100 ($250?) been a felony?
I understand the Safeway policy about paying for shoplifted items after they leave the store. Everyone would suddenly offer to pay for “forgotten” items and skate. To keep the policy enforceable for other legit thieves and gypsies, everyone gets the same hammer.
Much like any Zero Tolerance policy, it is there to keep the institution from lawsuits.
So far - I have no problem with anyone but the way the police handled the child.
Unless they were looking out for their buddies at CPS.
In the long run, this is much ado about nothing. Now, she should get a FOIA request to the Hawaii CPS ready to see what they wrote in her permanent file.
2. The fact that this woman is a pregnant mom has absolutely nothing to do with incident. Mentioning it is a ploy for sympathy by the author of the story.
And did you catch that the husband was a “former Air Force staff sergeant”?
Look. We live in a world where common sense is over and done with. It used to be a time where Safeway would NEVER have over-reacted. Now? Now, it’s expected.
That being the case, this foolish and famished young couple learned a lesson. At least I hope they did.
If they sue Subway, I hope they lose.
I can understand how this kind of thing could happen to this couple.
The point is the response was disproportionate. The only thing the store didn't do was rough the pregnant woman up.
In a polite world, people do that all the time. It is actually quite common.
True. But we don’t live in a polite world, do we? This naive young couple should have seen this coming from the first bite of that unpaid for sandwich.
(blaming senility here)
They may not have used the “pregnant mom” to gain sympathy. During my pregnancies I would get extremely hungry, often to the point of feeling like I was going to pass out if I didn’t eat right then and there. It’s not an excuse for failing to pay for the sandwiches, which they should have done immediately.
No one is disputing the fact they stole the sandwiches, though. It is unlikely they would have paid for them if they had not been caught.
Earlier last summer, our local BiLo installed self-checkouts. One day when I got to my car, I noticed a gallon of milk riding in the bottom of the cart, milk that I obviously had not paid for or placed in a bag. I was mortified! I went back in the BiLo, went to the same self-checkout and paid for the milk. In the way out, I saw the manager and explained to him what had happened. Since that day there’s always been an employee by the self-checkouts! LOL At least that manager was nice and learned a lesson! But it scares me to think what could have happened to me in another store!
No one is disputing that they didn’t pay for the sandwiches. The “perps” are most certainly disputing she “stole” the sandwiches, as the term conveys intent.
And of course, cops just mindlessly follow the law like good little Stazi.
—But we dont live in a polite world, do we? —
I do. It’s why I moved here from Seattle. It’s like everyone is family.
Cut me a break,Half the time they don’t put everything in the bag.Should lock up the cashier.
They “forgot” to pay for the sandwiches? They were just too hungry to wait? It doesn’t take too long to rack up $50 in groceries.
Is this some sort of trap for Safeway? I’m just a bit skeptical.
I'm a bit more understanding if the parent has a toddler and has opened something to quiet the kid before checking out.
I agree, there probably is more to this story. Reporting is selective...
—Obviously, you’ve never had a job with any responsibility.—
You may want to wait for a little more evidence before you so confidently size up another individual. Especially when your evidence is a single post. ;-)
I don’t feel sorry for this woman, and I don’t blame the manager. If she is going to be piggish and can’t wait a few minutes and eat the sandwich after it’s been purchased, then it is her responsibility alone to make sure it gets scanned at the register. Wait next time, ditz.
The point is the response was disproportionate.
They took stuff, they didn't pay for it. You would squeal like a pig if I came over to your place, took stuff and "forgot" to pay for it. Disproportionate you would be.
—The fact that this woman is a pregnant mom has absolutely nothing to do with incident. Mentioning it is a ploy for sympathy by the author of the story.—
I’m totally with you on that one.
—They probably will sue, and get a nice tidy sum, in spite of the fact that they stole the sandwiches.—
I don’t know that that will work. I think Safeway can lose in the court of public opinion now, but if the couple sues, they will need to show that they did not give safeway justification to hold them for arrest. Did they or did they not leave the store without paying?
If they were as innocent as they say, the best course would be to try to get Safeway to drop the charges and walk away, a bit wiser.
All things considered I think this family has a good case.
This is one side of the story.
Many people eat food in grocery stores and leave wrappers and half eaten goods strewn all over the place.
How do you decide one person is allowed to steal with impunity while another is not?
Welcome to the new America.
Where were the wrappers?
If they were in the chopping basket where they belong, then the clerk is to blame, along with the overreaction.
If they were discarded or hidden, then these folks are criminals.
—It is unlikely they would have paid for them if they had not been caught.—
I’ve accidentally walked out of stores and not paid for stuff lots of times in my life. Every time I go back and pay except once. I had a ten pack of film under a big bag of dogfood at Costco and both me and the clerk missed it. I left it in the car to pay the next day but forgot. A couple months later I found it under one of my seats and tried again but it just never happened.
Fortunately the statute of limitations is up on it or I’d never be confessing. ;-)
The hardware store where I work just recently started carrying drinks and snacks up by the registers. In the first week, we lost over $220 worth of food and drink to shoplifting. We were missing 17 Snickers bars, yet had only sold 4, which is just one example among many.
IUf Safeway had pulled that crap in a black neighborhood in Washington DC, the store would be burning even as we speak.
Sometimes Common sense should enter into the picture.
Common sense on both sides.
Since 1980 the US prison population has increased by 500%. We are truly the worlds largest penal colony. It is the modern American’s solution to every problem.