UPDATE: Safeway drops pregnant mom's shoplifting charge

Published: Nov. 1, 2011 at 8:58 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 1, 2011 at 10:52 PM HST
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By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Instead of in their apartment, we met Nicole Leszczynski and her husband and daughter at their attorney's office. We talked about the aftermath of the incident.

"Trying to get accustomed to the attention is taking a little time," she said. "I feel that my story is out there but there's still some more to say."

Last week, the Safeway store on Beretania Street had the couple arrested for not paying for two sandwiches they ate while shopping. Nicole insists she simply forgot, and calls it an honest mistake.

The store management refused to let her pay after she paid for her groceries and stepped out the door.

"It was a complete accident that turned out to have difficult consequences," she said.

Husband and wife were handcuffed and booked by police. Child Welfare Services took their daughter and kept her overnight.

"That's kind of harsh to go to jail and have your daughter removed from your care for something like this," Nicole said.

After Hawaii News Now broke their story, it went national on television, in print, and on the Internet. Everyone is calling them. A Google search shows over one million hits.

"It seems like a lot of people are angry about it, as are we," Nicole said. "It seems like such an outrageous story."

In a statement, Safeway said it's committed to serving families, but "it appears we may not have handled this matter in the best possible way."

Late Tuesday afternoon, Safeway president of Northern California operations Karl Shroeder called Nicole and apologized.

She said Shroeder said Safeway will drop the shoplifting charges.

The Leszczynski's feel vindicated and relieved.

"It's really unfortunate that it all happened. I don't blame any one person," Nicole said.

She said she doubts all Safeway stores would have reacted the way the Beretania store did. But right now, the couple won't shop in any Safeway, and that boycott may last for life.


Couple arrested and child taken for forgetting to pay for sandwiches

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