Published January 13, 2015
A grocery store security guard was fired after he told the father of a 4-year-old girl that she would face criminal charges for eating from a dried fruit package, a TV station reported.
The child's mother, Alissa Jones, said the father wasn't looking when the girl grabbed the package, ate a few pieces of fruit then returned it to a shelf at a Safeway store in Everett, Wash., KOMO reported Wednesday.
Safeway previously faced widespread criticism when a Honolulu couple were arrested over stolen sandwiches and had their 2-year-old daughter taken from them briefly by state officials.
In Washington, the guard took the 4-year-old and her dad to a room and said the girl would face charges and be banned from the chain, Jones said, adding the guard had the girl sign a paper acknowledging she wasn't allowed to enter any Safeway stores.
The company said it was "appalled" by the guard's actions and dismissed him. Store officials have apologized to the girl's parents, Safeway spokesperson Cherie Myers said.
"Our policies on shoplifting are intended to protect our customers, but built on common sense. And everyone understands what common sense is," Myers said.
The name of the guard was not immediately available.
The woman involved in the Honolulu incident, Nicole Leszczynski, was 30 weeks pregnant at the time. Last month, she and her husband forgot to pay for two sandwiches that together cost $5. They were handcuffed and searched, and later released on $50 bail each.
The company decided not to press charges, apologized and said then it would re-examine its policies.