Hobby Lobby May Have Overreacted To Theft Of $5 Worth Of Iron-On Letters

A Texas woman might be a little absentminded or beginning to suffer from dementia, but says that she didn’t mean to walk out of a craft store with a handful of embroidered iron-on letters. Unfortunately, she was shopping at Hobby Lobby, a chain whose management takes loss prevention almost as seriously as their Christian faith. The store wants the customer and her daughter to pay more than $1,000 in fines and civil penalties for the theft.

We get it: everyone who gets caught shoplifting says that it was an accident. “Oh, Loss Prevention Officer! I got distracted and didn’t realize that I was walking out with a turkey breast, lobster, shrimp, pork, beef, or a chainsaw stuffed down my pants! I really meant to buy this 43″ TV that I hid under my skirt! I just set down these 24 quarts of motor oil for a second, and somehow they ended up strapped to my body!”

We actually believe this woman, though. She explains that the tiny letters kept falling out of her cart, so she set them on top of her purse. They fell inside her purse. That’s when Hobby Lobby intercepted her at the door

A local TV station reports that the store had the 72-year-old arrested. She pled no contest to misdemeanor theft and paid a $260 fee. She got three months’ probation. Surely that was enough for walking out of the store with four letters worth $1.49 each. Right? No. Hobby Lobby then started sending her daughter, who took her on the fateful shopping trip, letters seeking civil damages and threatening a lawsuit. The last letter demanded $750. That amount would buy 503 iron-on letters.

A local attorney explained to the TV station that the cost of filing an actual lawsuit is quite high, and he has never seen a company pursue damages other than sending a few scary letters. “The cost of suing would greatly outweigh the recovery that they could get,” he explained.

Accidental shoplifting brings criminal charge, threat of lawsuit [KSAT] (Thanks, Landon!)

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