Couple’s Daughter Taken Away for 18 Hours Over ‘Stolen’ Sandwich

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Hunger pains led to temporary heartache in Hawaii when a couple was arrested for stealing a sandwich from a Safeway.

Well, steal might be a bit of a stretch. According to the couple, Marcin and Nicole Leszczynski, they were walking to their local Safeway with their two-year-old daughter, Zofia, when Nicole, who’s 30 weeks pregnant, was overwhelmed with dizziness. Deciding she needed to eat, they grabbed a couple of packaged sandwich from the shelves, which the couple munched on while they grocery shopped. After collecting around $50 worth of groceries and paying the bill, the family was stopped on their way out the door. They’d forgotten to pay for the two sandwiches.

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“I offered to pay, we had the cash,” Nicole told Hawaii’s KHON, about her response to the questioning. She said she’d been distracted and had forgotten about the sandwiches all together. The store’s managers, however, weren’t sympathetic as they called the police. Both Nicole and Marcin were arrested, and little Zofia was taken 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,” Nicole told KHON. The couple was arrested, taken to Honolulu’s main police station and booked for theft in the fourth degree — a petty misdemeanor — and, finally released on $50 bail each. After 18 stressful hours, Zofia was returned to her parents.

A spokesperson for the police department said that it is standard procedure to call Child Services if both parents are arrested when a child is present. Even if they’re only being arrested over $5 sandwiches.

Safeway issued a statement saying that they were looking into how the store, which has banned the couple for a year, handled the incident. They followed that with another statement that read, “It appears we may not have handled this matter in the best possible way.” No kidding.
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