At some point you’d think someone—the store manager, the cops, a police supervisor—would have applied some perspective, here.
A Hawaii couple’s 3-year-old daughter was taken away from them for 18 hours after they were arrested for forgetting to a pay for two $5 sandwiches.
“This is unreal this could happen to a family like ours,” Nicole Leszczynski told Hawaii’s KHON.
The outing-turned-nightmare happened Wednesday while the family was shopping at a local Safeway.
“We walked a long way to the grocery store and I was feeling faint, dizzy, like I needed to eat something so we decided to pick up some sandwiches and eat them while we were shopping,” Leszczynski told the news station.
Leszczynski, who is 30-weeks pregnant, her husband, Marcin, and daughter Zophia bought $50 worth of groceries — but forgot about their two chicken salad sandwiches.
“It was a complete distraction, distracted parent moment,” Leszczynski told KHON.
As the family left, they were stopped by store security, who asked for their receipt.
“I offered to pay, we had the cash. We just bought the groceries,” Leszczynski told the station.
Instead, the expectant mother told KHON that the Safeway manager called police. They were taken to the main Honolulu police station where they were booked for fourth degree theft. Then Zophia was taken into custody by Child Protective Services.
“When they notified us that they would have to take her because we both would be arrested, I just couldn’t believe it, couldn’t believe this was happening, because I forgot to pay for the sandwich and that she’s never been away from us this long,” Leszczynski told KHON.
A day later, Safeway issued an additional statement, saying that there may have been a mistake.
“It appears we may not have handled this matter in the best possible way and we are taking the situation seriously,” the store said.
The couple says the never intended to steal the sandwich, and that they plan to argue against the charges when they appear in court in November.