In late October, KRDO of Colorado Springs reported on an alleged theft incident at a Safeway supermarket in Honolulu involving a woman—thirty weeks pregnant—and her husband. The family was out shopping for groceries, when the woman claimed she felt faint. To improve her situation, she and her husband began eating two chicken sandwiches on sale at the Safeway. After finishing their shopping, they paid for $50 worth of groceries, but unfortunately, they forgot to pay for their two $5 sandwiches—which a member of their staff noticed. On their way out of the store, the staff member stopped the family and then accused the couple of stealing the sandwiches. They then called the police to arrest the family and charge them with theft. (To exacerbate matters worse, the police then called Child Protective Services and placed their child in the custody of the state.) Eighteen hours later, Child Protective Services returned the child to her family, and Safeway—perhaps having realized the inappropriate handling of this situation—released a statement; however, they did not say they had ceased investigation.
The above example illustrates that accidents happen to everyone—no matter what you’re walk in life—and while this couple may not have meaningfully committed a theft-crime, those who allege the couple did commit the crime have their own perspective on the matter. Furthermore, with respect to this specific event, the Safeway staff’s questionable handling of the incident has now made Safeway potentially liable for wrongful accusation of theft; therefore, the store may not be willing to drop the matter, as the company now has finances and their reputation at stake.
Theft charges carry with them very serious consequences including, but not limited to jail or prison time and significant fines. Furthermore, should the item of which you’ve been accused of stealing exceed a certain dollar amount, you could face felony charges and a subsequent criminal conviction that remains on your record for the rest of your life. To be sure you’ve done everything within your power to protect yourself in such a situation, you should contact a Colorado criminal defense attorney without hesitation. By contacting a criminal defense attorney immediately, you provide yourself with the resources you need to navigate a potentially costly set of circumstances.