Single mother arrested and ‘detained for 30 hours’ before being charged


A single mother is still in a state of shock after she was arrested and detained for 30 hours for allegedly stealing a pie from Woolworths.

The incident occurred at Woolworths in the Morningside Shopping Centre. The woman who wished to remain anonymous was in a state of shock following her ordeal in the popular chain store. She said while she was in the store she received an urgent phone call from her boss. She was on the phone for some time and was walking around in Woolworths while talking to her boss.

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She explained that there were signal problems and her boss told her to walk outside for a better signal. She walked about 4m out of the store without realising that she still had the pie in her hand.

She was then approached by a security guard and told to go the manager’s office. The woman said she produced R50 with the intention to pay for the pie but the security guard refused to allow her to pay.

The security guard handcuffed her and together with other Woolworths staff took her to the manager’s office. In the office, she was allegedly forced onto to her one knee.

She pleaded with them because they were allegedly hurting her. The police were called and she was allegedly dragged out of the store and arrested.

Constable David Mothapo, spokesperson for the Sandton Police Station confirmed that the woman was arrested on 21 March at the Morningside Shopping Centre. “The security observed the suspect taking a pie and moving to the fruit and vegetable section,” he said. “From there the suspect went out through the front door without paying. The security followed her and stopped the suspect outside the shop.”

Mothapo said the suspect refused to go back into the store with security to be searched. When she was forcefully taken to the control room her bag was searched and the pie was found in her bag.

“She was detained at the Sandton Police Station and released on 22 March to appear in court, facing charges of shoplifting laid by the store.”

Woolworths responded to the incident and said, “We are aware of the incident at our Morningside store but cannot comment on a legal matter at this stage. We do take the matter seriously and we are currently investigating.”

Share with us any incident where you have accidentally walked out of a store with an item and forgot to pay for it and been accused of stealing by posting to the Sandton Chronicle Facebook page.

Pieter Dempsey

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