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Pregnant Mom Arrested over $5 Shoplifting Charge

Nicole Leszczynski couldn’t imagine that two chicken salad sandwiches would land her and her husband in jail and her 2-year-old daughter in state custody. But then, five days ago, the 30-weeks-pregnant woman forgot to pay for her snack while grocery shopping.

“It was the most ridiculous chain of events that happened,” she said Monday, sobbing. “It’s still hard to believe what happened.”

Leszczynski, 28, and her husband, Marcin, 33, were handcuffed, searched and released on $50 bail each. Their ordeal lasted a few hours, but their daughter, Zofia, spent 18 hours separated from her parents in a case that has sparked outrage. The Safeway supermarket chain is reviewing the incident.

The family had moved to Honolulu from California two weeks ago. Still settling in, they ventured out Wednesday to stock up on groceries, took the bus, got lost, and ended up at a Safeway.

Famished, the former Air Force staff sergeant picked up the two sandwiches that together cost $5. She ate one while they shopped, saving the wrapper to be scanned at the register.

But they forgot to pay for the sandwiches as they checked out with about $50 worth of groceries.

“When the security guard questioned us, I was really embarrassed; I was horrified,” she said.

They were led upstairs, where store managers wouldn’t allow them to pay for the sandwiches, she said. “The security guard said we were being charged with shoplifting.”

Four hours later, a police officer arrived and read them their rights. And a woman from the state Child Welfare Services took Zofia away.

via Pregnant mom arrested, child taken over $5 shoplifting charge – latimes.com.

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