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Widow Cited for Shoplifting, Then Officer Makes Delivery

The 61-year-old grandmother was sliding her groceries across the self-checkout at the Woodbury Walmart. Scanner beeping, her total climbing, Sarah Lindgren pulled from her cart a package of steaks. She had counted the money in her wallet. “I just didn't have enough.”

Holding the steaks she’d promised her family for dinner, Sarah made a split-second decision, “I didn’t have enough for them and I just bagged them anyway.” She was walking out of the store when a Walmart employee stopped her. The phone call from Walmart to the Woodbury Police Department was routine.

Sarah had been taken to a room away from other Walmart customers. Her 18-year-old daughter, Danielle, who’d accompanied her to the store, was sobbing when Officer Wagner entered. “Sarah told me her daughter was autistic.” The head of the Lindgren household has a lot on her plate. In addition to Danielle, eight other children and grandchildren live with Sarah. Sarah’s husband had been the family’s provider until his death 15 years ago. She said, “You get to a point where you're drained, you can't even think.”

Wagner wrote Sarah a citation, then returned to his car and ran a background check. Wagner said, “There was nothing. She has fewer speeding tickets than I do. That’s when I decided that she needed help.”

Sarah left the Walmart and drove home with her daughter. Roughly an hour later her phone rang. It was Wagner. Lindgren pictured herself being led away in handcuffs. She thought, “He's coming back to get me.”

He wasn't. Officer Wagner had made a stop at Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf. The volunteers started packing. By the time they were done, boxes, cans, fresh fruits, and vegetables filled the backseat, passenger seat, and trunk of Officer Wagner’s squad car.

Then, Wagner drove to Lindgren's home and knocked on her door. Lindgren said, “I couldn't believe it. I was just overwhelmed, in disbelief.” She also experienced a rush of guilt. Wagner said, “She told me to bring it back. She said, ‘I don't deserve this, I committed a crime.’” Wagner wouldn’t hear of it. The food was delivered to Lindgren’s kitchen.

Wagner had more news for Lindgren. He’d talked to Walmart and voided the citation he had written her. “Throw it in the garbage. God gives us second chances and you've got to take advantage of them.”


Boyd Huppert, “Officer cites widow for shoplifting, then delivers food to her home,” KARE11.com (1-3-22)

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