Man Jailed After Forgetting Case Of Soda Underneath Shopping Cart

UPDATE: This guy is a liar! He stole the Pepsi after he was past the check out, and has now admitted to making the whole story up for reporters.

Have you ever accidentally forgot to pay for some heavy item that you stowed under you shopping cart? We have, too! Unlike one Cleveland man, however, we did not go to jail for it.

From WLKY:

Tom Sturgis has a long receipt showing the $157.20 worth of two grocery carts full of groceries that he bought at a Brooklyn supermarket Saturday night. After going through the self checkout, Sturgis said he forgot a $4 case of pop under the cart.

A police officer working security at the store asked to see his receipt.

“I went looking for the receipt, the pop wasn’t on it and they decided to have me arrested,” he said.

Sturgis was arrested on a petty theft charge.

Sturgis, who said he has never had so much as a parking ticket, found himself being led out of the store in handcuffs. He spent 11:30 p.m. until 3 a.m. in jail that night.

At home, his wife said she couldn’t believe what was happening.

“It’s over a case of pop,” said Wendy Sturgis. “He turned around and offered to go back in and pay for it and the cop told him it’s like robbing a bank, you just can’t get caught robbing a bank and say, ‘I’m sorry, I’ll give you your money back.'”

Robbing a bank? The Great Case Of Pop Robbery Of ’08? Yes, I’m sure the guy’s grand plan was to buy over a hundred dollars worth of groceries as a cover for his brilliant $4 pop theft.

We humbly suggest that this police officer is not very good at his job.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Dobernala says:

    You know, in some police jurisdictions, they actually disqualify you if your IQ is too high. I have a feeling that this police officer is one of the ones hired under this policy

  2. CRNewsom says:

    WLKY is my hometown, and, for the most part, the cops here aren’t very good at their job.

  3. boss_lady says:

    Thing is, he clearly intended to pay. I used to work in a supermarket, and this happened frequently (not only pop, but dog food, toilet paper, etc.). It doesn’t say whether he raised a fuss or not, but the it was often the case at the supermarket where I worked that we’d just direct them to the customer service desk to get the last item rung in instead of waiting in a lineup all over again.

  4. ptkdude says:

    Here’s my question: was he stopped inside the store or outside the store?

  5. pda_tech_guy says:


  6. boss_lady says:

    @boss_lady: Well, the article makes it seem as though he intended to pay. We’re not getting both sides of the story, really.

  7. ThunderRoad says:


    Way to cost your store a lifetime customer, idiot rent-a-cop!

  8. digitalhen says:

    does kind of prove the old asking for a receipt thingy

  9. joemono says:

    @ptkdude: Yes, this is important.

    And let this be a lesson to all of those out there who say “just stop and show your receipt!” If this guy had NOT showed his receipt (which he did not have to do), then he wouldn’t have wound up in jail.

  10. deedrit says:

    This is retarded, the cop should be fired for abuse of the law.

  11. cde says:

    Intent to pay is what will let him off in court. “Your Honor, I had over 90 items in two carts. I just plain forgot” Case Dismissed. If not, this will get the supermarket so much bad press if they continue pressing charges, and if they don’t but the DA decides to anyway, the city will get alot of bad press. Just one “You could be fighting real crime, like armed theft or murders” and it’s over.

  12. Dobernala says:

    @joemono: Who is seriously going to not show a cop his receipt?

    We can argue all day long about the legality of showing a receipt, but most people are going to take the easy way out here when a pig wants to see something.

  13. cde says:

    Also, why didn’t the cashier point out the case of soda? Arn’t they trained to look for it?

  14. Buran says:

    At the store near me, one cashier told me that they get dinged by secret shoppers if they forget to ask if you have anything under the cart, so I’d bet that technically the cashier was at fault too.

    But, in practice, I never get asked except that one time — the guy had just gotten the secret shopper report that day.

    I sympathized with him, since I understand how easy it is to forget to ask.

    I’ve accidentally forgotten to pay for things, too, but I’ve never had any problem dealing with it. If you ask they’re happy enough to ring it up.

    But this kind of overblown response is yet another reason why receipt checking is such a problem — if you submit you’ll get mistreated if they find ANYTHING wrong. This doesn’t exactly encourage anyone to want to stop.

  15. Scuba Steve says:

    157 and two grocery carts? I spent $157 and all I get is a handbasket.

  16. ChrisC1234 says:

    If that happened to me, I’d SUE. And honestly, the $4 the would’ve lost for the case of soda does NOT even compare to the customers that they just lost from that stupidity.

  17. billbillbillbill says:

    Another example of how common sense is becoming a rare commodity.

  18. Buran says:

    @Dobernala: Even if you don’t, without probable cause they can’t stop you.

  19. milknhoney55 says:

    $4 case of soda? It must have been the end of the month and the officer/security guard had to boost his numbers.

  20. joemono says:

    I’d also be willing to bet that the cop either watched this guy checkout or has seen enough people do this kind of thing to guess correctly that the guy forgot about the pop. In other words, my guess is he was just itching to arrest someone.

  21. billbillbillbill says:

    @cde: It says he used self checkout.

  22. joemono says:

    @Dobernala: Me.

  23. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    “Pop”? Who calls it pop? It’s soda!

  24. landsnark says:

    Unbelievable. Anyone know the name of the store?

  25. Milstar says:

    actually that is one of the best ways to shoplift because most people don’t suspect it and if caught give you the benefit of the doubt. Trust me I’ve seen it numerous times working retail.

    The happy birthday card inside a magazine

    The 20.00 orchid with it’s tag on the bottom of the plastic container placed in a 5.00 pot so the cashier rings up the pot thinking the plant goes with it

    The 20lb bag of dog food carefully slit open with a ton of cold medicine placed in it.

    etc. it’s not always about getting everything for free but rather cutting your costs.

    it could go eitherway in this case.

  26. coan_net says:

    over $150 through the self checkout? Ugh – when I spend that much, I make a casher do the work.

    Of course being arrested for that is stupid – but all the self-checkouts that I go through always ask me if there is anything on the bottom of the cart before I pay – wonder if they have that where he shopped at since a small reminder like that would have saved a lot of headaches.

  27. jitter says:

    After using the self-checkout for 2 carts full of groceries, I am surprised that a murder did not occur.

  28. mattatwork says:

    The security guard could detain him and see the receipt if he had a belief that he was shoplifting, I believe. So in this case, he might have had to show the receipt.

  29. fostina1 says:

    just for that im never going to broklyn

  30. FessLove says:

    Thats absolutely obsurd

  31. Pylon83 says:

    Ah yes, the token overly-litigious commenter. Sue them for having you arrested for theft. While I think this whole thing is dumb, he did (attempt to) take the item without paying. It’s not the cops job to determine his intent. The cop’s job is to say “Did you pay for this?” “No..but” “*cuffs* You go to jail”. While the store never should have let it get that far, they didn’t do anything “Wrong” to the point that they expose themselves to a lawsuit. They lost the customer and got a lot of bad press, that’s loss enough.

  32. ellastar says:

    @cde: @Buran: It was at a self-checkout. Though, at most self-checkouts I’ve been through, there’s usually a cashier overseeing the self-check-out area.

  33. arsbadmojo says:

    I just looked at the story and saw the location: BROOKLYN, Ohio.

    I thought that sounded familiar, so I looked it up to be sure – and I’ll be damned if it isn’t the exact same town where the cop arrested the infamous Michael Righi for not showing ID after an altercation with a Best Buy receipt checker!

    Who the heck is running the Brooklyn, OH PD? These guys are idiots!

  34. ConsumerAdvocacy1010 says:

    The customer should sue both the establishment and the local police department.

  35. cbartlett says:

    I’m not lawsuit-happy but this guy needs to seriously sue the heck out of the dude who arrested him. Ridiculous.

  36. @AlteredBeast: Since you’re getting technical of what it’s called, in reality it’s called Soft Drink. But regardless it can be called pop.

  37. SeraSera says:

    I once walked past a Target check-out with a bag of bread in my hand — I’d been carrying it around while my mom and brother grabbed everything else and just forgotten about it. /I/ was the one who realized, but it was still awkward going “… yeah, I almost walked out of the store with this, can you ring it up?”

  38. Nytmare says:

    I didn’t know it was possible to scan that many groceries through a self-checkout. The machine yells at me whenever I move a bag around on the scale; it would probably start blaring sirens and shooting flares if I ever had to remove one to make room.

  39. r081984 says:

    Does anyone have the name and address of the store???

    Also, does anyone have the contact info for the store manager?

    All this over pop, I would have kicked that cops ass for being a dick.

  40. Anonymous says:

    I guess that moron would have sent my four year old to jail for ‘lifting a snickers bar.

    Anyone else see the irony of a cop moonlighting as a security guard. I saw a story on the news a few months ago where a man shot a security guard during a crime. The news referred to him as killing a police officer. He didn’t kill a police officer, he killed a security guard.

    In my opinion, this guy did not get sent to jail by a cop, but by a security guard.

    As for showing a reciept, I adamantly oppose the systematic checking of receipts. However, if a security guard politely asks me if I remembered to pay for the $ in COKE (not pop, not soda) under my cart, I would be happy to show him. In reality, his asking would make me realize that I didn’t pay for it.

    But this moron was just on a power trip.

  41. MelL says:

    @Pylon83: “he did (attempt to) take the item” implies intent. If it was an accident, and there’s no reason to believe otherwise, there was no intent.

  42. ClayS says:

    I haven’t forgotten to pay for a large item underneath the cart, but I have neglected to load it into my car and left it in the cart in the parking lot.

    So for every “thief” like this guy, there’s probably a fool like me, so it should all even out.

  43. ConsumerAdvocacy1010 says:

    If you go to the news site and watch the video…

    It’s the Giant Eagle supermarket in Brooklyn….OHIO.

    Sorry if it’s already been pointed out.

  44. Nytmare says:

    @Pylon83: It’s not a cop’s job to ask if he paid for it, it’s the store’s job to notice he didn’t.

  45. Buran says:

    @mattatwork: “I think someone might have been shoplifting” isn’t probable cause in most places — you have to be seen taking merchandise off a shelf, concealing it, then monitored til you leave the store (since you could have put it back while you were out of sight, if they don’t maintain constant visual contact), and then walking out the store without paying for what you hid.

  46. President Beeblebrox says:

    @CaptainCynic: “In my opinion, this guy did not get sent to jail by a cop, but by a security guard.”

    Badge? Gun? Took oath as law-enforcement officer? Yup, he’s a cop.

    A cop working extra duty as security is still a cop.

  47. Black Bellamy says:

    @Pylon83: Ahh the token commenter who makes incorrent statements about the law.

    Look up your local criminal code and see how many times intent appears. It’s the cop’s job to determine that intent.

  48. bsalamon says:

    not a single comment about his hat…wow

  49. zentex says:

    @arsbadmojo: good eye!

  50. trujunglist says:

    Probably more than just one customer. Wow, a real police officer just chillin’ in the store looking for action? Must’ve been a reeeeaal slow night to pick this one up.

  51. what happened to his groceries?

  52. DeeJayQueue says:

    When I worked at Target, the LP people indoctrinated the cashiers with 2 names, LISA and BOB. LISA stood for Look Inside Always, because people liked to take an opaque rubbermaid tote, line the bottom with DVDs and CDs and then set another identical tote inside. Plus people would take car seat boxes and fill them up with clothes and just pay for the car seat. BOB stood for Bottom of Basket, which is pretty obvious.
    The cashier may not have received this level of training, but I think it’s pretty safe to say this guy isn’t the first to put soda under his shopping cart, I can’t imagine that they don’t have policies to check carts for stuff.
    The fact that the guy went to jail over this smacks of “Well I drove all the way out here, so someone is getting in trouble” from the cop. He got off his ass and drove down to the market, such an inconvenience, so obviously somebody has to suffer for this outrage.

  53. cde says:

    @Pylon83: It is job to find out intent. Police discretion in deciding to arrest someone or if they charges will stick. In some states, concealing something on you is “de facto” intent to shoplift. In other states that is not the same. In all states intent plays a big part. Just in the same way a cop can decide not to give you a ticket for speeding even if you were speeding and he caught you red handed.

  54. burgundyyears says:

    @bsalamon: okay, I’ll bite. It looks like a promotional hat remaindered from the release of Tron in 1982.

  55. Lilinka says:

    That cop needs to be fired.

    Out of a cannon.

    Into the sun.

  56. matsayz says:

    @AlteredBeast: its Pop cuz he’s in the Midwest… c’mon meow

  57. stinerman says:


    We Midwesterners are lazy. “Soda” is two syllables while “pop” is one.

  58. Micromegas says:

    @Buran: Maybe they can’t legally stop you, but in my experience there’s a certain breed of cop out there who doesn’t really care what’s legal for him to do and what’s not, and I’ve had run-ins with such cops even though I never committed a crime and was never even in the vicinity of a crime.

    I’d rather just show the cop my receipt than suffer a black eye or broken bone when his overinflated sense of empowerment makes him snap because I’m not obeying his every command.

  59. ELC says:

    @cde: Self checkout (ie no cashier) – read the article.

  60. Traveshamockery says:

    @AlteredBeast: “”Pop”? Who calls it pop? It’s soda!”

    No, it’s all called “Coke”, no matter what the can says.

  61. cde says:

    @ericole: All the self checkouts in Jersey have a 1:4 cashier-overlord to checkout ratio. I’ve never seen an unattended self checkout. AND, some of those checkouts give “check the bottom of the cart” warnings/”reminders” to customers.

  62. blue_duck says:

    Thank God we got this scum off the streets :P

  63. Buran says:

    @FessLove: You mean “Absolutly”?

  64. MelL says:

    @cde: The store I go to has a self-checkout that at times goes unwatched, though that’s only in the wee hours of the day, like 3am. And I suspect that the ‘check the cart’ warnings is linked to an item count threshold being met, so I rarely get it myself because I shop often for a few items at a time.

  65. tricky69 says:

    This cop actually READ THE ENTIRE RECEIPT and went through each and every item to see if this person had paid for one item? How much time would this take? Is that even reasonable to go through TWO shopping cart’s full of items?

  66. Buran says:

    @Micromegas: Give up your rights if you want, but thankfully lots of others aren’t so willing to forfeit them.

    You can always file a complaint about the officer, too, and/or write to the local paper. My local paper will regularly out public servants who don’t do their jobs at all, do a bad job, or mistreat the public.

    It gets results.

  67. nightmage61 says:

    For anyone in Ohio who wants to call the store and complain or just wants to know what store to avoid.

    Sorry I could not find an email address.

    Giant Eagle Market

    (216) 351-5180

    6600 Biddulph Rd
    Cleveland, OH

    I think I will just stay well away from any place in Ohio. The cops there seem nuts.

  68. mantari says:

    @Dobernala: The reason why they don’t hire police officers who’s IQ is too high is that they become bored, and they start getting into trouble. You actually DON’T want a police force with high IQ cops, because it will lead to endless problems. A detective, however, is certainly someone you want to have a higher IQ.

  69. moorie678 says:

    This is ridiculous, grocery stores factor in the cost of stolen goods and security costs into price, so he probably paid for a stolen pack of soda in that trip alone…

    I am wondering how in the world they are going to prove intent because without intent there is no crime… ( as far as I know)

  70. blue_duck says:

    @Buran: I would more go with the local paper. Where I’m from, you can file complaints all day about an officer, but no one besides the person you turn your stuff into sees it~ that person, in turn will destroy the complaint. It happens all the time here.

  71. joemono says:

    @tricky69: Which is why I think the cop knew that the guy missed the pop, specifically scanned the receipt for it, and then arrested him.

  72. wildwhuck says:

    once i was buying wedding shower gifts for a coworker and a vacum cleaner didn’t ring up correctly. i thought the total was off, made it to the parkin lot before i checked the receipt, which didn’t have the vacumn listed at all. i returned and paid for it. who knows what would have happened if i was stopped by security.

  73. moorie678 says:

    @mantari: yeah we want dumb people to shoot guns…… :)

    No wonder in jersey a cop shot at a Christmas party filled with people when a robber ran inside the house, it was 7 or 10 shots…… injured a kid and two others and the guy got away….

  74. Bladefist says:

    we’re talking about grocery store cops here, more proof no child life behind isnt working.

  75. deserthiker says:

    Where was the store manager in all of this? You might expect the rent-a-cop to be all law and order about this but the store manager should have known this was a simple oversight of someone spending FORTY times the amount of the item being “shoplifted”. Now, granted, a lot of managers are as brain dead as the security personnel but there has to SOMEONE in that store with half a brain who realized immediately that this action will cost the store far more than $4.

    Security guards are idiots generally and this only further reinforces the negative view people have of them.

  76. FreemanB says:

    The customer was obviously a dangerously unstable individual that needed to be removed from the streets for the safety of the general public. No sane person would try to use self-checkout for that many items. I usually end up having to call the attendant over roughly every other item I try to scan.

  77. @DeeJayQueue: I was just going to mention that we had the same policy at the grocery store where I (briefly) worked. But we were also aware that customers and cashiers make honest mistakes, so if an item was missed at the checkout, then caught at the exit, the customer usually offered to pay. We gave people a chance to explain themselves. It’s was usually pretty obvious who was intending to steal and who just plain forgot.

  78. gew95001 says:

    I went into a Sears store a few years back to buy a filter. It was in a box somewhere around 18″x18″. I walked out of the store without paying for it and was halfway across the mall before I realized it. I turned around and went back. The cashier was pretty friendly, and I told her what had happened. Her “nice” demeanor immediately dropped and she quietly but firmly told me to be quiet. She explained that if store security heard me they’d have me arrested even though I came back to pay for the item. She thought the policy was stupid, thankfully.
    After the supreme overreaction to LED signs, I’m sure Boston’s Finest would have gladly taken a hardened criminal like myself off the street.

  79. mgy says:

    I’ve had this happen to me innumerable times.

    Far more common is going through a checkout line and having the cashier get so frustrated trying to figure out what sort of vegetables you have in your cart and then key it into the system that they just say “fuck it” and bag them anyways.

  80. hi says:

    @FreemanB: I agree. He is clearly dangerous to society and should be tazed and sent to Guantánamo where he should be treated for his soda stealing disease.

  81. cde says:

    @mantari: You need to be a cop before you can become a police detective….

  82. missmicrophone says:

    I hope to hell he finds a new grocery store.

  83. Saboth says:


    The best ways to shoplift is to leave something in plain view, and the most common place of putting something? I’m pretty sure 99.99% of people that pay for their groceries fully are not shoplifters. Why the hell would you risk prison for $4, after paying $160 for groceries?

    Now, if he was found to have $90 worth of fillet mignon stuffed down his pants, that is another story altogether.

  84. cde says:

    @gew95001: Are you kidding? Boston would have declared you a mass murderer and executed you on site for violations against humanity.

  85. SuffolkHouse says:

    Just watch. When poverty starts to hit strong industrial states like Ohio, it will slowly turn into a southern police state. I would never had been shocked to get arrested for something like this in Florida – but a northern state?

    This is the rise of facism. Police state.

  86. Pro-Pain says:

    Wow. That police officer was a total asshat. After they ran this gentleman’s id and found out he wasn’t a “career criminal” he should have been allowed to pay for the soda and leave peacefully. Some cops are just pricks I guess.

  87. BrockBrockman says:

    Remind anybody else of My Cousin Vinny? Sort of?

  88. Dobernala says:

    @mantari: I disagree.

    Making generalizations about smart people is about as sensible as making generalizations about the inclination of certain ethnic groups towards crime or other undesirable behaviors.

    If I pulled up the DOJ crime statistics and showed you that XYZ racial group commits x more crime than ABC and use that as a basis for not hiring someone, that would be unfair, would it not?

    The statistics to support such an argument *may* have a basis in truth, but it is a policy that is demeaning towards individuals who may not fit easily into such a generalization, especially when it contradicts our own experience.

    The way I see it is that a person who is intelligent probably knows exactly what he is getting in to when he applies for a police job. Intelligent people are more than capable of applying themselves in such a way to keep themselves entertained and occupied with their time.

    I have actually met a number of cops with IQs > 130 (the infamous case in New London, a man was denied a job based on IQ of ~ 125) and they are well-liked people with excellent records and valued by the departments they work for.

  89. Dobernala says:

    @mantari: It is also worth noting that many police departments don’t have this bass-ackwards policy and will give out bonuses/stipends for officers who have college degrees to sign on to the force.

  90. forgottenpassword says:

    The cop didnt use common sense & discretion in this instance. THAT’s the main problem here. Could be he wanted to prove that he was doing a good job at the store he was moonlighting at, at the customer’s expense. Which is sad.

    I have almost walked out of my local grocery store with one or two items (from the cart) I forgot to put on the conveyer belt, but caught myself in time & was extremely embarrassed about it. I’d hate to think I could concievably go to jail over it.

    @Micromegas: aggreed! COps can “make you pay” for not doing exactly what they wanted you to do (or just by annoying them in some way). Often times you are arrested on a vague catchall offense & then detained for the leagally allowable limit (usually 24 hours) & then released with charges dropped. By then you are already fingerprinted with mugshot taken & already in the system. Cops know that they can do this to punish people who basically annoy them. Only when they do this to someone who is powerfull is when something is when the shit hits the fan.

    @blue_duck: Agreed! Complaints against officers are rarely taken seriously unless a BIG public stink is made about it.

  91. toddkravos says:

    Remember the guy who got arrested for not showing his receipt at a Circuit City? This is the same city.

  92. Comms says:

    Fucking pigs.

  93. Tankueray says:

    @AlteredBeast: Who calls it soda? It’s Coke. And if I ask for a Coke, what I really want is a Dr. Pepper. Ya’ll.

  94. Amsterdaam says:

    @AlteredBeast: Pretty much the entire northern Midwest. But by all means, continue to berate others for cultural differences, I don’t want to get in your way.

  95. scoosdad says:

    @toddkravos: Guess you skipped reading the comments:

    [arsbadmojo’s comment above]

  96. Tzepish says:

    I once forgot about some candy I was purchasing… Once I realized I had forgotten about it, I went back and had them ring it up so I could pay for it. However, I realize now that I am apparently a criminal and I shall be turning myself in for this thievery.

  97. sirwired says:

    I think the “Pop” is an Ohio (Mid-west?) thing. I had a good friend from Toledo that did the same thing.

  98. forgottenpassword says:


    Its soda, pop, sodee-pop (used by old-timers in rural areas), coke, soft drink, pepsi…. all depends on the area you grew up in.

    With me its typically “coke” as the catch-all reference to soft drinks. SOmetimes I will use “pop” or “soda”. *shrug*

    There are some areas where people will call a sack (like a grocery bag) a “poke”. I remember reading a humerous article where some city person who was shopping in a rural area was asked if she wanted a “poke”. LOL!

  99. LorneReams says:

    If he didn’t show the receipt, he would have been arrested for obstruction which is like the trump card the police can use to arrest you for no reason. You will probably also get resisting as well.

  100. dry-roasted-peanuts says:

    What the hell kind of store doesn’t have an X-items or less rule for self-check lanes?

  101. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    I’m sure it’s already been said, but it’s shit like this that demonstrates perfectly why you should alway refuse receipt checks at the door. Even if it’s a cop.

    Hell, especially if it’s a cop.

  102. cde says:

    @forgottenpassword: Coke is when you want a specific type of cola, like Coke or Pepsi or RC or Generic Cola. Sprite is the same for Sprite or 7UP or Generic Lemon/lime. Soda is all of them.

  103. cde says:

    @dry-roasted-peanuts: Some stores have both express and regular self-checkout.

  104. forgottenpassword says:


    If you want to get anal, then yes, but where I grew up, people often say “coke” when referring to soft dinks in general. Because coke is such a common & well-known brand.

  105. mantene says:


    ALL checkouts in NJ is a bit overly broad. I go to 2 stop and shops that don’t use that system. If you go around 7am there is no one looking over the self-checkout and during the day they usually have someone walking the floor but not specifically looking over the self-checkout isles.
    The shoprite and pathmark nearby do use the 1:4 system though.

  106. Geekly says:

    Does this mean that if I discover that I forgot to pay for something, that I should NOT go back in and pay for it because I would otherwise run the risk of being arrested? What a world we live in.

  107. cde says:

    @mantene: Just because they don’t staff the overlord station/booth, doesn’t mean it wasn’t the idea.

    In one pathmark, they just shutdown the self checkout around 11pm.

  108. Dude27 says:

    My wife excatly had this problem here in Canada with Loblaws security pitbulls… She took organic cherries from a big bags as she did by the past and see other do the same… but she forgot to tell the cashier that it was organic (there was no organic labeled bags, it was close to the fermeture and she was exhausted by her day work), the difference was less than 1 dollar but nonetheless they arrested her and called the police. They treated her like a criminal, didn’t wanted to hear her explanation and send her a letter banishing her from all the loblaws stores. The policewoman who came had to charge her for minor fraud but she was sad for my wife because it was indeed a mistake. It took 5 letters to the head of Loblaws security dpt later over a 6 month period to clear this as they stayed on there stubborn decision… finally they dropped it but only because we were so persuasive to fight for our rights but they never did excuses to my wife for this mind aggression.

    It’s been 2 years and we believed they loose more then 10 000 dollars of business because we didn’t put a foot in loblaws shop again (and all the other that they owns: fortino, Superstores etc… ).

  109. mantene says:

    @cde: you misunderstand, there is no overlord booth in the 2 stop and shops. They are laid out just like normal isles rather than 4 stations facing each-other. There is no place for someone to man (or person or people or whatever the pc term is these days :p)

  110. KD17 says:

    Until I got thrown in a jail cell I would think a prank was being pulled on me.

    Actually anything other than ” Sir you/they forgot to ring up the pop. Lets go back inside and have them ring that up real fast.” and I would think someone was pulling a prank on me.

  111. TPS Reporter says:

    Wouldn’t he have had to physically leave the store without paying for it to be a theft. Up to that point, he is really just carrying it around. And I have forgotten jugs of water underneath my cart before and actually got out to my car with it before I realized it, and this was going thru a cashier run register. I went back in and paid for it at the service desk. They didn’t act like it was a big deal, maybe it happens quite a bit. Maybe the $157 that he did pay was a ruse, the real money is in the case of soda.

  112. scoopy says:

    I say they throw this guy in prison.

  113. gmss0205 says:

    OK, let’s look at this the other way – if any of you took a law class you would know that “ignorance is no excuse.” He took something he didn’t pay for. Plain and simple. Everyone is saying he should get off the hook because it was a $4 item. So if $4 is OK to “forget” is $8? Would a $20 item under the cart been OK? What if he had a $50 item? Would that still be OK if he “forgot?” Please show me the law that says it is OK to forget a $4 item but not OK to forget a $20 item. Do you think Best Buy would be OK if you walked out a $20 DVD that your “forgot” to pay for? I don’t think so.

  114. keith4298 says:

    If the clerk forgets to ring it up, or if the item misses the scanner, are you still going to get arrested…please people…let common sense come back to us!

  115. mgy says:

    @keith4298: Yes you will be.

  116. Pink Puppet says:

    @gmss0205: I think the point is that almost everyone has forgotten a little something in the grocery store, and it’s a no harm no foul situation in most circumstances.

    Even if ignorance isn’t any excuse, whatever happened to common sense? Would you rather see a regular customer that made an silly mistake go to jail, or would you want them to just pay for the item and continue visiting your establishment?

  117. scoopy says:

    For cases like this, I think we should bring back the death penalty.

  118. olivia2.0 says:

    How did he fill up two whole carts with groceries and only bay $157 in Brooklyn?

  119. Parting says:

    It happened to me once, only after walking out of store, I realized I forgot to pay for a bunch of keychains. I just came back and paid them. Luckily, it wasn’t in this store =O

  120. azntg says:

    @gmss0205: The punishment is not proportional to the crime committed. At the rate things are going right now, there might as well be a “perjury = automatic death sentence. Busted taillight? Death sentence.” rule.

  121. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    Some states, like OH and NC, are NOTORIOUS for cracking down on minor offenses. North Carolina is really paranoid about shoplifters and routinely hands down draconian sentences.

  122. Quintus says:

    Unless the person has a record with the store, why not give him the benefit of the doubt?

    Wouldn’t you like the benefit of the doubt? Everyone makes mistakes. I’d rather give someone the benefit of the doubt once and be wrong, then punish them over something they never did.

    I’ve walked out of stores before with things I didn’t pay for on accident. A couple months ago I found a little flashlight with my two-year-old had after we got home from Beds Bath & Beyond. I ended up keeping it so I just went back to the store and told them what happened and paid for it.

    Wouldn’t it have been funny if they sent me to jail for it? Total unjustice!

  123. akede2001 says:

    @Tzepish: That’s the most disgusting part of our society now. Even though you went back to pay for the item, they still could have still called the police and had you arrested, even though you discovered the error yourself and went back to pay.

    Reminds me of a news article within the last eight months or so, where a guy was arrested. He intentionally took a steak, made it out to the parking lot.. felt bad, and went back inside to pay for it. They refused to let him pay for it, detained him, police showed up and he was arrested. Moral of the story? If you do something wrong, don’t try to make it right. You’re just going to screw yourself more.

  124. EBounding says:

    It’s stories like this that are going to make people to NOT want do the right thing. If you get outside and realize you didn’t pay for something, why would you want to go back in to pay if you could still get arrested?

  125. cde says:

    @mantene: Have you seen some of the different ones? My pathmart has the aisle ones, 5 of them, with conveyor belts and this little bridge thing that uses ir to physically scan the item for appropriate weight/size/shape. The overlord booth is against the outside wall.

    And if they don’t have an overlord booth, do they do any corrections on the checkout itself or what?

  126. Bill Brasky says:

    @gmss0205: I HAVE taken a law class, and intent must be proven. No intent= “oopsdamn…” The officer has discretion in matters like this, and appears to be more motivated by doing things right, rather than doing the right thing.

    Wrong…and wrong.

    Officer “Farva” got pissed over his liter of cola, IMNSHO.

  127. yetiwisdom says:

    @AlteredBeast: Depends on location – see []

  128. Pylon83 says:

    Precisely. I (un-artfully) tried to make the same point in an earlier comment. Mistake or no mistake, if it met the letter of the theft/shoplifting statute, the office was obligated to make the arrest. Again, dumb of the store to push it that far, but that is their right. They don’t have to accept your excuse.

  129. akede2001 says:

    @olivia2.0: May have been bulky items.. containers, dog food, cat litter, furniture items, tent/hiking supplies, etc. My guess is that it wasn’t $157 in fresh foods.

  130. redrover189 says:

    @gmss0205: I think the idea is that, legally, yes, this individual was at fault, according to the letter of the law.

    But in terms of the store’s “loss”, making a huge deal out of this situation instead of allowing the customer to resolve his error (whether it was a legitimate mistake or a scam)will cost the store much, much more than the $4 lost and a shoplifting fine. Think of the long-term negative effect this will have on the store’s profit-margin – I’m sure anyone in Brooklyn, OH who saw this on the news/read this in the consumerist will now think twice about patronizing this store.

    By being courteous and giving the customer the benefit of the doubt, they would have recouped their $4 and avoided all this negative publicity.

  131. karmaghost says:

    to serve and protect, but quick protect who, exactly?

  132. Parting says:

    @gmss0205: It’s more about common sense. Customer probably shops there at least every 2 weeks. (a 160$ per visit adds up to a big amount in the end of the year).

    Now this store lost a customer and all his family / friends and also some other people who saw the news.

    The guy committed a mistake, instead of jailing him for several hours, police should have a fine for fist-time offenders.

    (Think how much resources were wasted on petty theft charge.

  133. Parting says:

    @olivia2.0: Mostly sale stuff. I do that occasionally :)

  134. CyGuy says:


    In lieu of an email you can use the corporate contact page here. If the guy has enough time on his hands I’d plead not-guilty as there was no mens rea i.e. intent to steal anything. In fact, given that he used the self checkout for two carts worth of groceries, he likely saved the store at least $4 in labor costs. If people think they will be arrested for making a mistake at self checkout, soon nobody will be using them and the store is the one that will be paying for this foolish arrest.

    As for the Pop vs. Soda vs. Coke business, the definitive information source is online interactive map that has been on the web since the last century. As you can see from the map, Soda is the most common term used on the East and West coasts, as well as in Chicago, and Missouri. Coke is most often said in the South, but most of the rest of the country, the Midwest and mountain west – says Pop.

  135. mantene says:

    @cde: It is really annoying if you need help in the morning because so few people are at work but during the day you can hit a “button” on the touch screen to request help which lights up an orange light on a pole. Takes a while for anyone to come over and help you and if someone is waiting in line behind you then you start to feel really guilty.

    So far I have only seen the stop and shop – regular isles with touch screens- and the pathmark and shoprite 1:4 setup. I figure 4 supermarkets is enough for any one man :) There is a third stop and shop I will go to on occasion that is so old and small it doesn’t have any self-checkout. The other stop and shops are really SUPER stop and shops but not that one. hehe.

  136. Geekybiker says:

    I’ve done this a few times. Forgotten about the soda. OTOH I’ve accidentally left soda I paid for at the store a few times too.

  137. Parting says:


  138. Parting says:

    @gmss0205: OOH!! You took a law class! I bow to your superiority! *grin*

    This is not as much about the law, but the COMMON SENSE and CUSTOMER SERVICE. For this business, it would be much more profitable to forgive the customer. I’m not even mentioning bad PR the store is getting due to this event.

  139. cde says:

    Also, with such a petty crime, when it’s not a felony, a police officer has the option of arresting you or just presenting you with a court summons/ticket. Atleast in NJ and New York (NY: especially with Quality of Life offenses, like that one Gawker editor(ess) who got arrested for sitting on two seats on the subway, instead of just being given a ticket.)

  140. Youthier says:

    @MrBill38: That’s what I’m wondering. I can’t watch the clip right now but if he never made it out of the store and the pop* wasn’t concealed, how is that theft? And word to whoever said it upthread – the cop checked every item in this guy’s cart? I’m thinking the “thief” must have been sleeping with the cop’s wife or something.

    *I’m from Michigan.

  141. Corbin123 says:

    @Bill Brasky: Exactly. It takes intent in order to prosecute this crime. There is no way this guy is actually going to get charged. I guarantee you that the theft law itself lays out the requisite intent requirement. Please everyone else actually take a criminal law class before you go spouting off things you heard.

  142. Pylon83 says:

    Everyone is talking about the “intent” required for the crime at hand. Has anyone read the appropriate statute in the jurisdiction in question? If not, you don’t know whether intent is actually required under the local law or not. So, perhaps taking it easy on the legal conclusions until you have some actual support for them.

  143. forgottenpassword says:

    One possibility about this is that the cop looked at how this guy looks & automatically thought “dirtbag”. Looking like a dirtbag myself (I look like a bearded bubba-ish redneck)I have often faced intense scrutiny by law enforcement types. Cops often intensely scrutinize people based on how they (or their car) looks. A driver of a barely roadworthy-looking jalopy in a wifebeater t-shirt will get more scrutiny than an elderly gentlemen in a suit driving a brand new BMW. The pic of the guy posted… does look a bit “rough” around the edges.


    Could very well be he had bought several large items (large bags of dog food, large bottles of water, etc. etc..)

  144. monkeyboy13 says:

    I work in loss prevention, and have seen numerous people forget items and “forget” items. I could have padded my stats with all the moms who hung items off their strollers and then chased their kids out of the store. I didn’t, and no one I know in the job does. We just flagged them down and let them know they forgot.

    But, technically, shoplifting is taking merchandise from a store without paying for it. The cop should have let the guy pay for the soda and let that be it, but there are no grounds for suing.

  145. cde says:

    @Youthier: Some states have it so once you are past the last line of payment i.e. past the registers, it’s de-facto theft, or de-facto intent of theft. Just like in some states, concealing something is automatic de-facto intent of theft. Like NJ. Except “de-facto” is some other legal term denoting “safe to assume implied intent” for legal purposes.

  146. gskelding says:

    I’d like to know what happened to the groceries he paid for! Did he get to take them home, or is he now out the 147$ he spent?

  147. gskelding says:

    oops – 157$

  148. camille_javal says:

    hell, I was once on a first date, and we went to get a couple of beers before going to a movie a couple of blocks over. We were really hitting it off, and suddenly realized we had to run to the theatre. When we walked out of the movie, I stopped and asked, “Um…did we pay at the bar?” We went back and did – the waitress seemed significantly relieved, of course, and we gave her a huge tip for her trouble.

    Apparently, though, yes, we should have been cuffed.

  149. forgottenpassword says:


    doesnt make much sense then putting merchandize on the shelves between the checkout area & the exit does it? I have seen plenty of stores that do this.

    Wonder if you get jumped the minute you pick up a 2-liter bottle of soda you want to go back & pay for.

    The walmart I used to work at many many years ago had giant bags of dogfood & 2 liter bottles of soda all along the wall from the checkout lanes all the way to the exit.

  150. monkeyboy13 says:

    @MrBill38: In New York, you do not have to leave the store for it to be theft. Either concealing the item, or passing all points of sale and attempting to exit the building are enough intent for shoplifting.

  151. Mr. Gunn says:
  152. cde says:

    @forgottenpassword: That’s one of those situations where you’d expect common sense to kick in….

  153. Tzepish says:

    To those of you who think this guy deserves to be thrown in jail for “shop-lifting” (amazing, I know): if making an extremely common, extremely simple human mistake is cause for being sent to jail, then we live in a very, very dangerous police state. That, and many common, good-natured, law-abiding folks (such as myself and many commenters to this post) are criminals and deserve to be thrown in jail. We aren’t allowed to make mistakes: human nature is not to be tolerated.

  154. Pylon83 says:

    I’m not sure anyone is saying he “Deserves” to be thrown in jail. Some of us are simply saying it’s not a complete and total attrocity that the store chose to enforce their rights to the letter, and the office chose to enforce the law to the letter. Maybe they are tired of getting ripped off and wanted to make an example out of someone. I think nearly everyone agrees the store took it to far, but that doesn’t make it “wrong” in the sense that a) they should be sued, or b) they even owe the guy an apology.

  155. uberbucket says:

    I’ve accidentally did this with a huge bag of what is commonly referred to on the west coast as ‘dog food’. I went back in and paid for it when I noticed. Cashier said it happens all the time, don’t worry about it.

  156. Atlantys says:

    @AlteredBeast: It’s pop.

  157. levenhopper says:

    Since when does petty theft get you into jail? I thought it was just a citation…

  158. forgottenpassword says:


    you forget, common sense doesnt apply to gung-ho power-tripping seven doller an hour rent-a-cops or off duty cops moonlighting as security when they gotta get their quota of “criminals” after having a bad fight with the ex-wife. Especially when the higher ups want proof that you are doing your job & not just a key-jingling “thumbs in the belt” authoritative-looking ornament earning “easy money” by seemingly doing nothing.

    I’ve said it before,…. management often doesnt like paying for security unless they see results. And if you happen to have a post where anything rarely happens, management will hate you because they think they are payiong you to basically do nothing.

    I used to work as a security guard so i know all about it.

    …. and the type of security guards SOME places hire werent known for having common sense.

  159. econobiker says:

    I am a member of a warehouse club. A nice warehouse club not based in AR. One that checks receipts.

    I took my two sons (5 and 7) there one busy Saturday. Got our stuff which included a case of bottled sports drink. The ultra nice cashier was very friendly to my sons and I especially given how busy it was. She put our goods in the same cart we had arrived with at the checkout (no bags at this club). She rang up stuff and the total seemed light when I used my debit card but I couldn’t tell for sure. As sons and I were passing customer service area to exit, I studied and realized that the receipt lacked case of sports drink on the bottom of the cart.

    Ethical dilemma with 10 seconds to choose: I don’t want to rip off the store but realize that this might get the ultra nice cashier written up/ possibily fired. What to do? I was truly more worried about getting the person busted than taking the stuff. So with a hand off of the receipt to my younger son and a little social engineering of the receipt checker , I was able to skate through with the case of sports drink. I didn’t feel great about it but in my mind if was the least of the evils…

  160. forgottenpassword says:


    Pardon the typos, I know how to spell “dollar” & “paying” correctly. Just dont want someone to think that I was one of those barely educated, low-quality security guards. lol

  161. SuperJdynamite says:

    @matsayz: “c’mon meow”

    Excuse me, are you saying meow?

  162. Optimistic Prime says:

    @ConsumerAdvocacy1010: I used to live in that area, and there’s a good reason he went through the self-checkout. Late at night that’s the only lane open. Just one city over, Parma, the police won’t take you in unless you’re violent, have a weapon, or it’s a felony theft of more than $500… Obviously something ain’t right here.

    And Altered Beast, around these parts it’s “pop.” I get strange looks every time I ask for a Soda Pop…

  163. thefncrow says:

    This story reminds me of when I was living in college. I lived with 3 other guys, and the 4 of us would throw in for the grocery bill.

    My roommates went to Costco, got everything, got out to the car, and noticed that a pack of bottled iced tea they picked up didn’t get scanned, and so we had gotten the item for free. They thought, hey, maybe the checkers just don’t always remember the items on the bottom, we should remember this.

    Next time they went back, they got the same iced tea, and put it on the bottom of their cart. When they got up to the cashier, the cashier thought about it this time, and so they paid for the iced tea and went on.

    Next time they went back, they got the same iced tea, and again put it on the bottom of their cart. The cashier notices it again, and they pay for it. Once they get home, they realized that they had forgotten about the iced tea, and left it on the cart when they were packing the groceries in the car.

    With that, my roommates decided against trying the iced tea trick anymore, since everything was now even.

  164. gmss0205 says:

    So is everyone saying that it is OK to forget a $4 item at a grocery store but not OK to forget a $20 item at Best Buy? I agree that common sense has to come into play, but at some point there has to be a cut off. If I went to the gas station, filled up my car and “forgot” to pay, I would lose my license. It could very well have been an honest mistake, but I still would have to take responsibility for my action.

  165. ShadowFalls says:


    First of all, you used the wrong word, ignorance does not apply here. Ignorance involves you not being aware of something.

    The person in question was in fact aware of the item, he just forgot about it. Would this officer have arrested someone who has issues with their memory just the same? Would it have been ok if this was an old person?

    The biggest issue here is the conflict of interest. The police officer wasn’t just a police officer, but also an employee of the store. His conflict of interest was used for him to act not only as the one who is pressing charges, but the one acting on the complaint.

    It is clear this won’t hold up in court, but regardless, the biggest issue it seems, is that the officer would be punished for not properly doing his job.

  166. G-16 says:

    I like how this conversation turned from shop lifting to calling it “pop” or “soda”

  167. gmss0205 says:

    The biggest issue isn’t conflict of interest. The issue is that someone took something that they didn’t pay for. Remind me next time I am in a store to take a $50 side of beef, put it under the cart and then say “Oh my, I forgot it was there,” as I am loading it into my car.

    If I am driving home and hit someone with my car is it ok if I didn’t “intend” to kill them? “Officer, it was a mistake, I didn’t mean to run them over.” “OK son, you can go.” That’s not the world we live in.

  168. Wow, first a security guard gets FIRED for detaining a minor stealing alcohol, then another security guard gets a damn medal of honor for getting an absent minded shopper arrested over PEPSI.

    Then thinks comparing a $4 case of “pop” to robbing a bank justifies the means.

    So, what is it? Can I steal or not? EUREKA!

    I can get away with stealing liquor, and not PEPSI!! Let the jacked-up crime spree commence!
    WHO’S WITH ME?!?!

  169. Jim C. says:

    SuffolkHouse wrote:

    Just watch. When poverty starts to hit strong industrial states like Ohio, it will slowly turn into a southern police state. I would never had been shocked to get arrested for something like this in Florida – but a northern state?

    This is the rise of facism. Police state.

    Tzepish wrote:

    if making an extremely common, extremely simple human mistake is cause for being sent to jail, then we live in a very, very dangerous police state.

    Ridiculous. In a real police state, the cops would break into your house in the middle of the night without a warrant and put you in jail without a trial just for making those comments.

    Don’t get me wrong. Jail for $4 seems to me to be outrageous and over-reacting; at best it’s simply zero-tolerance. It might be grounds for a lawsuit, and if I were on the jury, I’d probably find for this guy. But this is NOT a police state or fascism.

    As Tom Wolfe wrote (paraphrasing someone else), “the dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe.”

  170. forgottenpassword says:


    Its a bitch being a security guard. Not an easy or fun job (Unless you are a prick who likes screwing with people because you were picked on as a child).

    You have to know what you can & cant legally do & follow company policy for the place you are posted at or work for. And even then the company can change or go against their own policy & say your are at fault if a customer complains to much or threatens to sue … then you get dropped like a hot rock. They say being a cop is often a thankless job, but being a security guard is an even MORE thankless one because you have no protections like cops often have when someone bring up a complaint against you for doing what you were supposed to do.

    I am SO glad I got out of that industry long ago.

  171. maevro says:

    Well, if it was in NYC, he would have been in central booking way longer then 3.5 hours, so stop yer crying.

  172. statnut says:

    @forgottenpassword: Seems most times, most security guards fit that clause in your sentence.

  173. TechnoDestructo says:

    @Scuba Steve:

    You need to shop outside of the liquor section.

  174. Malsol says:

    I’ve taken criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence, etc. I graduate law school in one month. For one of my clinics, I help prosecute petty misdemeanors, misdemeanors, and gross misdemeanors–including a lot of incidents *almost* exactly like this. I just wanted to point out a few things:
    1) It’s ignorance of the *law* which is not an excuse. Not ignorance of the factual situation. (Which would more go to intent.) This guy, I’m sure, knew that shoplifting was illegal. I hope so, at least.
    2) I can’t imagine any theft statute that doesn’t require proof of intent. That would be ridiculous. I can imagine a statute that would establish a rebuttable presumption of intent, (e.g., if you concealed an item underneath your coat and walked out of the store without paying, you are presumed to have the requisite intent,) but a rule without intent entirely? At common law, intent was required for the crimes of larceny and burglary. The Model Penal Code requires intent. And Ohio law requires intent, as stated in Ohio Statute 2913.02(A) [not Bluebook citation, I know]: “No person, with purpose to deprive the owner of property or services, shall knowingly obtain or exert control over either the property or services in any of the following ways[ . . . ]” Yes. Intent is required.
    3) Police officers and prosecutors always have (practical) discretion on whether or not to arrest someone and whether or not to press charges. There is (generally) no remedy for the failure of the police or the state to press charges. See, e.g., Town of Castle Rock, Colorado v. Gonzales, 125 S.Ct. 2796 (2005); cf. DeShaney v. Winnebago County Dept. of Social Service, 489 U.S. 189 (1989).
    4) With all that in mind, would any reasonable juror or judge (in case of bench trial) find the requisite intent to steal four dollars worth of soft drink/soda/pop/Coke/carbonated sugary beverage, when the person just spent $157.20 in groceries? *That* is why the issue of the supposed theft only being valued at four dollars is important–not because it’s okay to steal four dollars worth of items. As I submit that no reasonable jury or judge would ever be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that this man intended to steal this item, the police officer, even if he had probable cause to arrest him (another issue entirely), should have let the guy just pay and not wasted everyone’s time (especially that of the court and the jail).
    The Supreme Court has ruled that it’s okay under the Constitution (federal, state law may differ) to arrest and bring someone to jail for an offense for which the maximum punishment is a fine, with no jail time. Atwater v. City of Lago Vista, 532 U.S. 318 (2001). But anyone who would do so is a prick.

    Now that I’ve written a damn essay response, back to schoolwork.

    (Yeah, yeah, I have to cover my ass.)

  175. Malsol says:

    Your analogy in this case doesn’t work unless the criminal intent required for theft is reckless (or negligence), instead of knowing or intentional.

    It also doesn’t work because of the severely disproportional consequences of the two situations.

  176. forgottenpassword says:


    gonna have to be a bit more specific on which clause you are referring to.

  177. nikalseyn says:

    Another example of a cop just trying to be a good Nazi. He done good.

  178. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    I’ll agree that people are over litigious, but being arrested over forgetting to pull the soda from the bottom of the basket is too much and the customer suffered real damages.

    Being arrested is going to cost this guy hundreds if not thousands in attorney fees, lost wages, collect phone calls, etc.

    The lawsuit should be for hundreds of thousands, but I don’t think someone forgets to ring up a 12 pack to save 3% on their groceries.

  179. darundal says:

    @Dobernala: You’re joking, right? Disqualified? Disqualified from what?

  180. darundal says:

    @gmss0205: Ignorance is no excuse, but this is a prime example of following the letter and not the spirit of the law.

  181. joellevand says:

    I once forgot that I had a shirt tucked under my arm that I intended to ask to be restocked. I went to the register, juggling arm loads of clothes to purchase and put back, and generally being disorganized. The clerk took my restocks, rang up my purchase, (a couple hundred dollars worth of work clothes for my husband and myself at H&M) and I walked out of the store, all the way to the door of the mall to exit. When I went to put my coat on, the shirt dropped to the floor.

    Immediately, I returned to the store and explained to the cashier what had happened. He just shrugged, threw it in the bin, and we left.

    I now realize that I should turn myself into the cops!

  182. reflection717 says:

    @AlteredBeast and everyone after that with a soda vs. pop opinion:


  183. topgun says:

    Midwest :pop-pizza-concrete blocks-grades
    East coast: soda-pie-cinder block-marks

  184. cupofjoe84 says:

    @Tankueray: it’s y’all..where are ya from? haha

  185. parad0x360 says:

    Seems not many people leaving comments bothered to read the tiny article that said SELF CHECKOUT…anyways.

    The cop is a moron, if the guy was gonna try to steal something, he would have picked something expensive and he would have hidden it in one of his many bags. I cant believe they threw him in jail. I cant believe the store pressed charges and I also cant believe you could be arrested for theft without ever leaving the damn store.

  186. Just a joke, y’all. My dad was a security guard, I know the general idea and how much BS you are put thru.

    But I still find it appalling that a store can let a minor steal liquor… that teenager could jump in a car with friends, drink and drive, kill themselves and others in a horrific car crash. When the police investigate WHERE they got the liquor, it shows a teenager on camera, stealing, with the store fully aware, yet lets her go on just taking down her description and car driven. It’s obvious the intent to drink the alcohol, like someone stealing a gun.

    Both stories are asonine.

  187. uberbucket says:

    Please, all I want is a Pepsi! And she wouldn’t give it to me! All I wanted was a Pepsi, just one Pepsi, and she wouldn’t give it to me! Just a Pepsi!

  188. Pylon83 says:

    But he was arrested for suspicion of the commission of a crime, not for some frivolous reason. I don’t think he has any grounds for a lawsuit. The only civil suit he could file would be false arrest (against the store for having him maliciously arrested), but since the officer clearly had probable cause that a crime had been committed (however ridiculous it might be), there are no grounds for a false arrest suit. The guy needs to realize he screwed up and move on, not start a lawsuit.

  189. amazon79 says:

    You have Brooklyn, OH to blame for the Seat Belt Law…

  190. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    “To Punish and Enslave”

    I sincerely believe the guy just forgot about it, so let him go back in and pay for it. You know, is it really worth tying up $200 worth of a civil servant’s time to toss a guy in jail for a $4 accident? Of course, if he’d exposed 4 million credit card numbers to identity theft, THAT wouldn’t have warranted any jail time whatsoever.

    I will play Devil’s advocate for a minute, and say that I *think* I have seen people “forget” stuff on purpose. I was behind this guy at the checkout who had 5 cases of soda on the bottom of the cart. He put one on the belt and just kept on unloading..paid for his groceries and walked out. I watched to see if he was going to mention it to the cashier…he didn’t. Granted, he could have said something and I missed it, or the cashier could have just rang up the ones on the bottom, or maybe he had a really short memory…I don’t know and I never will, but it certainly looked like he was trying to get pull one over on the cashier.

    My point is, some people *will* try to pull stupid shit like that, figuring if they get away with it, it’s free, if not, they’ll just say “Oops, I forgot.”


    There’s no way to be sure of someone’s intentions and it really relies on a cashier paying attention. Even at self-checkout, there’s supposed to be somebody watching everyone..that’s the place to catch it the error, not send a cop after the guy when he’s halfway out the door. Unfortunately, to cops, everybody is guilty of a crime until proven innocent. As far as I know, the guy didn’t show any signs of criminal intent (like hiding the soda under his coat) which seems to me would make the difference between an “oops” and a possible crime.

  191. newgrl says:

    Oh Geez… The Great Pop vs. Soda Controversy (Map):


    The *definitive* guide to who says “soda”, who says “pop” and who says “coke”.

  192. forshizzle says:

    why aren’t they naming the supermarket he was at? all they had to do was drop the charges and let him pay.

  193. jonathaz says:

    If this were me, at the point I realized I was being arrested over a $4 mistake, I would have knocked the cop the f*** out, and left 4 dollars clutched in his fist. Or I would have tazed ’em.

  194. not_kosher says:

    @Buran: You’re kidding, right?

  195. newfenoix says:

    This is a cop that does not deserve to have a badge. I had a 100% conviction rate as a cop BECAUSE I did not make BS arrests like this one. When this case hits the courtroom, the judge will refer this cop to his supervisor for retraining.

  196. newfenoix says:

    @Pylon83: Actually he can sue for improper arrest.

  197. Smd75 says:

    I recently walked out of a supermarket with 2 fridge packs underneath my cart, I walked back in with them, informed someone I had accidentally walked out with them, paid for them and left. All they did was thank me for being honest and ask who had checked me out since the cashier didn’t catch it.

  198. Pylon83 says:

    So long as the cop had a reasonable belief that a crime had been committed (and he clearly did), there was no “improper” arrest.

  199. veterandem says:

    I love the last line:

    We humbly suggest that this police officer is not very good at his job.

    He’s working security at the grocery store. Not exactly Starsky/Hutch/TJ Hooker credentials.

  200. Bill Brasky says:

    @newfenoix: Reminded me about the hearing I had over a BS ticket I got in my sister’s parking lot. I leaned in her window to talk to her, and after she pulled off, I got a ticket for “Conversing with a Female Motorist”. To quote the judge:

    “Officer, if you truly are that bored, I can FIND something worthy of your attention.”

    Case dismissed.

    I smell a 1983…

  201. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Please excuse my unnecessarily long post. The persons responsible for it have been sacked.

  202. forgottenpassword says:


    He’s probably moonlighting as security. Police often do this because they are paid quite well for it. WAY more than some non-cop security guard.

  203. CaptZ says:

    Ahhhhh….childhood memories. Ok….college memories. Anyone remember that yellow tape that Sears used on large bulk items as proof of purchase in addition to your reciept?

    Well… a hazing, I had to go to Sears and get ahold of the tape and attempt to get something big. I got a little crazy and grabbed a canoe, yes a full size canoe stuck the tape on it, lifted it over my head and walked to the door.

    I was about 10 feet from the door when 2 Sears employees ran over to me. I was thinking, “Shit, I am so busted” They run over and both of them grab ahold of the canoe and asked if I needed help out to my vehicle.

    I drove alone in my truck and my buddies all drove in another car that was parked next to my truck. They were all stunned when I appear with a canoe and 2 helpful Sears employees to help me load it. Made for a great weekend canoing down the Guadalupe river and getting drunk. And I became a legend……ahhhhh good times, good times!

    Don’t judge me……unless you can judge yourself as perfect. We all did crazy shit when we were younger…..keep your “thieving” comments to yourself good people.

  204. Tzepish says:

    @darundal: “Ignorance is no excuse, but this is a prime example of following the letter and not the spirit of the law.”

    Absolutely. Shoplifting is against the law; being forgetful is not.

  205. xamarshahx says:

    i thought u cannot be arrested unless you walk out of store with item. thats what they told us at best buy when i worked there, that we could not accuse someone unless we caught them on tape and we could not arrest them for it until the left the store.

  206. TruPhan says:

    @forgottenpassword: Is there a way we can make a big stink about it?

  207. jshiflet says:

    @The Marionette & @AlteredBeast:

    Actually, it’s called coke, no matter what brand, type, flavor, etc…it’s all coke. You go into a restaurant and the waiter asks you what you want to drink. You say, “I want a coke.” They respond with: “Okay, what kind.” From there you choose from your options: Coke, Sprite, Dr. Pepper, Pibb, Pepsi, etc.

    That’s how we roll down south!

  208. DuckSeason says:

    Seriously? They arrested the guy over FOUR DOLLARS OF SODA? That he probably legitimately forgot?

    Now, I’m not a lawyer or anything, but I really think this guy should consider getting one, and sue the store (for employing an idiot as a security guard), the police department that hired such a moron, and the guard himself. I’ve no idea under what, but I really, honestly think this fellow should make as much trouble as possible for as many people as possible.

    This is so damn stupid, and something needs to happen so nobody involved forgets about it anytime soon.

    Stupid should hurt. If not physically, then financially.

  209. WEGGLES90 says:

    This story makes me sad. this guys record is now ruined by some over reaction.

  210. jeffsters says:

    It’s my understanding at first this guy refused to stop when requested then refused to show his receipt. After arguing a bit the guy, still refusing to show his receipt told the cop something like “I don’t deal with rent-a-cops call a real one or leave me alone” or some such thing, the cop identified himself as an off-duty officer upon which the guy pulled the receipt out of his pocket and the coke wasn’t on it. The cop had watched him so he knew the coke wasn’t there. Anyway this is what I was told.

  211. concon says:

    Tell the company directly what you think. Here’s the email of the VP Corp. Communications, President, and CFO:,,,

  212. mariospants says:

    This is complete bullshit. The cop cannot ask for his receipt or even stop him to discuss his fucking groceries unless someone in the store flagged him as a shoplifter. If the cop is off-duty then he’s a renta-cop and he should have called the REAL cops to do the arresting.

    Anyway, nice fucking detective work there, sherlock. What if the customer had bought the cans of coke separately and didn’t keep the bill? (Loblaws often stacks soft drink cans after the cashes for whatever bizarre reason).

    Regardless, it’s possible that the customer knowingly didn’t ring up the softdrinks and the store manager was being an asshole. Anybody who has to unpack and pack their own groceries in a self-serve checkout is going to notice large packages left under their cart.

  213. Sorry, but the police officer working security does’nt sound like the smartest guy. BTW, here down south we normally called carbonated soft drinks “soda”. It’s a regional thing. :)

  214. @mariospants:
    You know what? Sometimes when I’m shopping I’ll grab a bottle of water or green tea and start drinking it. Imagine if this cop would’ve caught this poor guy doing something like that? He could’ve said he was under arrest for strong arm theft or defrauding an inn-keeper or some crap like that. I just hope this guy sues and wins BIG. I don’t believe in sueing for being inconvienienced (spell check!) or being annoyed…but being ARRESTED? Sweet candy coated Jesus, I’d sue EVERYBODY. lol.

  215. civlyun says:


    The idea is that if you are too smart you will get bored or frustrated and leave, causing your jurisdiction to lose out on all they spent on training.

  216. Pylon83 says:

    You would sue everyone, spend a bunch of money on lawyers, lose, and look like a fool after the fact. There is no cause of action here (unless there was some malice on the part of the officer/store, which hasn’t been shown).

  217. Soldier_CLE says that Hideo Kojima has to make MGS till the day he dies! says:

    It’s not JUST Ohio…

    Chicago: Actually got stopped there and had a reciept read up and down, when it was very obvious that I bought a laptop from a Best Buy there (Strangely the person who checked me out also was the person who thought I were stealing the laptop!)

    Go figure.

    NYC: The other town I live in… Stopped there because he didn’t know if I walked out with a jersey from a Foot Locker that was on a rack. Sucked for him that it had a CC Sabathia autograph on it.

    Huntsville, AL: When I were 18, I just graduated from a military school, and was jogging across the street from a Borders to Madison Square Mall, when two squad cars pulled out and drew weapons at me. no merchandise on me, just wanted to catch a taxi. I had to make it on base before student curfew (I were leaving for Germany the next day, but not before I made a complaint with the post IG.)

    It’s not JUST Ohio that has asshole cops. Those are just three instances.

  218. kindall says:

    TV’s Alton Brown once got nabbed in a Kroger for picking up some donuts, eating one, and forgetting the rest of the pack on a shelf.

  219. lawstud says:

    cases like this have gone to the Supreme Court. Basically YES you can be jailed for any violation of the law. The case on point was a woman who failed to wear a seatbelt and the cop dragged her downtown and had her spend the night in jail.

    Yes we live in a police state. It is a waste of time and money. But the US Supreme Court said police have discretion in their job and they should not have another burden of figuring out whether they can jail someone or not for an offense.

    The real question is whether he committed a crime of petty theft. For petty theft you have to have the mens rea, i.e. the intent to steal. Based on the simple facts it is reasonable to assume he did not intend to steal. This is his defense. Secondly, it is an attempt to steal (he never left the store) so truly, the prosecutor will have to prove specifically that intent to steal.

    FIGHT IT!!!!!

  220. Psionx0 says:

    The “Security Guard” was working there, and most likely watched this guy check out. And by watch I mean, stood at the door, and literally watched him check out. Now that implies he knew that the offender hadn’t paid for the soda, hence why he could ferret it out of the receipt w/o going through all the bags. The question now is, why didn’t he walk over to the guy as he was checking out and politely remind him of the contents in the bottom of his cart? Then again he could have assumed this gentleman was “forgetting” it on purpose and wanted to make an arrest for petty theft. Arrest someone who can be on the street in 5 hours and do it again, or prevent a crime from being committed? Clearly not the the sharpest knife in the drawer.

  221. UNSTOPPABLE says:

    @digitalhen: It’s things like this that are the reason why as far as I’m concerned, “may I see your receipt” is usually answered with “fuck off”.

  222. cde says:

    @Pylon83: Part of figuring out if a crime was committed, is if he had reason to believe the guy had intent to steal.

    @Bill Brasky: State and stature number please. I HAVE TO see it with my own eyes :D

  223. psyop63b says:

    If he technically hadn’t left the premises at that point, how can you claim he stole anything?

  224. spamtasticus says:
  225. stinerman says:


    Ohio’s a lot more “southern” than you think it is. I should know. I live here.

  226. mantari says:

    @cde: I didn’t say it made sense!

  227. godai says:

    Local station Q104 had Sturgis on the air as well as a woman who claimed to be at the scene.

    The woman claimed that Sturgis checked out then after checking out took the pop from one of the displays near the entrance doors and put it on top of his cart.

    Of course he denied it on air and said the truth will come out in court. He also said he didn’t have representation yet.

  228. vermontwriter says:

    One of my area grocery stores now has a laser/scanner (not sure what you really want to call it) about four inches from the ground in the register lane. If you move your cart past this thing and there is an item on your cart bottom that wasn’t placed on the belt, an alarm goes off. Can’t possibly forget anything now!

  229. demoman2k8 says:

    Ok give us the Name of this Store or store chain. I think it shows BAD taste that they HIRED this IDIOT COP.

    Time to inform shoppers to AVOID this place. See if a loss in profit will get their attention.

  230. katekate says:

    @ClayS: Recently, my friends found a giant thing of toilet paper under and abandoned cart, and showed up at my door with it because they didn’t need any. It was great, but I felt a little bad in case someone might’ve come back for it.

  231. vladthepaler says:

    Man shoplifts, gets caught. What’s the story? Even if we assume it was a mistake (and on that we just have his word), it’s still an illegal act.

  232. plim says:

    @cde: according to the article, it was a self-checkout line. but every self-checkout line i’ve seen is express (10 or 15 items or less). so i don’t know how he rang up 2 carts worth in the self-checkout line.

  233. wifeofsturgis says:

    I am the wife of Tom who was accused of petty theft after forgetting that he left a case of pepsi under the cart.
    My husband will have to go to court on May 1st for face the charge of petty theft.
    I can honestly say that this was a mistake and that he indeed did forget the pepsi under his cart.
    There were 2 carts full of groceries, it was my birthday and he wanted to get back home to finish celebrating it with me. The only reason I sent him to the store was because he had purchased a “Magic Bulet” for me as a gift and I sent him to the store to get items listed in the recipe book so we could try it out.
    He has been a loyal customer of Giant Eagle for years…most of my family has too. He also worked for Giant Eagle for 18 yrs…just not that one. He did various jobs like stocking shelves, floor man, and supervising those self scanning checkouts.
    There was no employee there to supervise the self scanners, which is why my husband and son were taken in the back room. The officer asked her what she wanted to do…she said have him arrested and banned from all Giant Eagles. This is after he paid $157.20!
    He does have a lot on his plate…I am disabled and so our 2 of my kids which is why he does the shopping. He used the self scanner to be able to get done quicker and return home to his family but instead he was arrested.
    He did not exit the store. They took him from the lobby to the back room of the store where he was placed under arrest, not read his rights, placed in handcuffs like a common criminal, and walked through the store to a police car. He did not put up a fight, offered to pay once he realized he forgot to scan it. This could have been solved by a simple reminder!
    As far as what happened to the groceries…a lot of them were ruined because it was a warm night and a lot of items on the list were perishable.
    We are not sue happy people but do intend to seek some kind of compensation for the whole ordeal.
    Like most people we live from paycheck to paycheck and lawyers are expensive. We are currently in search of a lawyer to represent him not only in this court case but to sue both Giant Eagle and the police dept. One that is willing to wait for their money until the case is resolved.
    Giant Eagle nor the Brooklyn police dept can be reached for comment is what we have been told when this story was aired.
    This is the first time my husband has ever been in trouble.
    Right now we are worried that this nonsense will cost him his job because even if it is thrown out of court, it will remain on his reocrd

  234. Amelia Subverxin says:

    One store I worked for trained us to turn a shoplight into a sale. Once you point out the unpaid item, the majority of people will turn around and just purchase it. We treated that as a success.

  235. Aph says:

    umm… I think an its key that comsumerist makes an effort to IDENTIFY THE STORE at which this took place.
    Its kinda the difference between entertainment media and the overall objectives and service this site provides.
    Right? If I lived in brooklyn I’d be like “well thanks for nothing”

  236. NoLongerInUse says:


    Pop Versus Soda

  237. NoLongerInUse says:

    @plim A Giant Grocery store in Maryland (I live in LA now) had about 6 or so self check out lines. They weren’t express. They’d rather pay one person to oversee them than 6 cashiers.

    Crappy thing is, your light stuff would always screw the thing up and you’d need to wait for assistance. Such a hassle.

  238. dead2silence says:

    is it legal for an off duty cop to arrest someone while they are working a second job?

  239. FessLove says:

    @Buran: No, I didnt actually. My spelling was correct.

    But thanks for trying to clear that whole situation up. I mean, an extra “e” in the word absolutely would have totally confused everyone and ruin this whole thread. I mean, if no one goes around correcting everyones spelling on blogs, what would this world become? I’m glad you took the time to try to correct my spelling on this blog(which was correct already).

  240. PeteG says:


    Lol! In Canada it’s ‘pop’. ‘Soda’ is soda water here. I think in the U.S. mid-West (Chicago, etc) they say pop as well.

    Either way: $4 for a case of it? Must have been on sale.

  241. famboozled says:

    It can be Pop or Soda:

  242. snoop-blog says:

    yeah i’d sure like to boycott this store, if only we knew which store it was.

  243. civicmon says:

    Thank god we have those cops putting our hard-earned tax dollars at work to protect us!

    Seriously, couldn’t he give $5 and call it even? Friggin stupid…

  244. Malsol says:

    Like my response, only a lot shorter! And without the “police state” argument. (I’ll consider that a “political question”.)

  245. Keat says:


    Actually, Giant Eagles in Ohio has some of the easiest to use self-check lanes I’ve ever seen. It’s a full length conveyer belt and the items are scanned as the belt moves. No messing with weight or tiny packing areas. You pack your bags after paying.

  246. LionelEHutz says:

    This sort of thing happens all of the time and all the DA is going to do is offer the guy a plea to disorderly conduct, a violation, and be done with it. They don’t care to do the right thing because they want the conviction and the chagre that he’ll plea to will never appear on his record.

    As for the store, I bet they just lost a lot of customers over this. Imbeciles.

  247. @Pylon83:
    Huh? Like there is’nt some attorney who will work the case pro bono? Don’t tell me you would stand for being ARRESTED by an off duty cop. Just because you don’t like my comment does’nt mean you have to find some point on which to disagree with. *rolls eyes*

  248. katyggls says:

    About 3 years ago, I bought a very large Rubbermaid storage container from Wal-Mart, paid, went home. It was then that I realized that I actually had two storage containers, one stuck inside the other. Neither I nor the cashier noticed apparently. I really wanted to take it back to Wal-Mart and either just give them back their merchandise or pay for the 2nd tote but a friend of mine advised me against it, because he worked there and thought it likely that I’d be arrested even though I was trying to be honest. So I didn’t. I still feel enormously guilty about it to this day, but this story just sort of makes me believe that my friend was right. Eventually I used the tote to donate a bunch of stuff to Goodwill and I gave them the tote which has allowed my guilt to subside somewhat. I still feel really awful about it though.

  249. chiieddy says:

    So, it turns out the guy checked out with no Pepsi in his cart, paid, then went to the Pepsi display and loaded $24 worth of Pepsi into his cart and attempted to walk out of the store. The store caught it all on tape.


  250. becky1205 says:

    Ohio Police Say Man Leaving Store with Pepsi was no Accident

    Posted: April 10, 2008 09:10 AM EDT

    BROOKLYN, Ohio (AP) – Police say a security tape supports their claim: this Pepsi theft was no accident.

    Fifty-year-old Thomas Sturgis of Cleveland paid $157.20 for groceries Saturday night at Giant Eagle when he forgot about a $4 case of soda under the cart and was arrested for petty theft.

    But Brooklyn Chief Mark Tenaglia says that security video shows Sturgis using a self-checkout with no items on the bottom of his cart.

    Tenaglia says a second video camera shows Sturgis loading six 12-packs of Pepsi into his cart before he exited the store. The total value of the soda was $21.54 with tax.

    Sturgis declined to comment yesterday.

    (Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

  251. rbb says:

    Care to comment on the actions of your husband as caught on videotape?

    And to the majority of posters on this thread – how does that crow taste?

  252. rjhiggins says:

    @spamtasticus: So, how do you feel about this comment now, smart guy?

  253. ben1711 says:

    @spamtasticus: Please let the public know how well your apology email to each address you listed was recieved.

  254. S-the-K says:

    This is why y’all at The Consumerist need to take what people tell you with a grain of salt. I’ve never been interrogated by Wal-mart for my receipt although such stories are very popular on your site. Until it happens to me or I see it happen to someone with my own eyes, I am skeptical that they don’t have a creative version of the truth.

    I like how security camera showed his blatant attempt at theft but everyone believed his lie hook line and sinker.