Florida (of course) – On Friday, Jan. 29, Publix workers saw Paula Jay Ernst, 51, selecting items and putting them in her shopping cart at the Public located at 14371 Spring Hill Drive.
She then allegedly took the groceries from her shopping cart and put them into reusable Publix shopping bags, which she had brought with her.
Hernando County Sheriff’s Office detectives say Ernst walked out of the store without paying for the groceries. The incident was recorded by surveillance cameras.
Publix employees wrote down Ernst’s license plate number. She was then contacted at her home by telephone and agreed to return to the store.
After she was arrested, Ernst told deputies she did not mean to steal the items and walked out of the store because she had defecated in her pants, according to an arrest affidavit.
I have a couple questions that I’d like answered before I can make a determination on the legitimacy of this woman’s excuse:
1) How common is people shitting their pants in the grocery store in Florida? Between all of the old people down there and the meth addicts and the general Florida population wouldn’t you think that ‘shit happens’ in Florida Publix stores all the time? Like is this even a unique situation?
2) Can our perp prove she pooped?
If dumping in your pants in public in Florida is a common occurrence (which I suspect it is) then pooping your pants while shopping at Publix is not an excuse to shoplift. If everyone’s used to this happening then there’s no need to hit the panic button. You probably just raise your hand for an employee and they show up and give a new meaning to ‘clean up on aisle 2’.
HOWEVER, if shitting your pants is not something that happens all the time in Florida Publix stores (again, I think it does) then I’m going to let this slide if she can prove she pooped. I can’t think of a more vulnerable situation I’ve ever been in than the time(s) I’ve sharted in public nevermind full on dumped my pants. You start sweating, looking around, trying to plan an escape/clean up. All logic and reason goes out the window. One second you’re asking the clerk if a toothbrush is approved by the American Dental Association an the next second you’ve sharted and you’re running out the door without paying. It just happens. So until I can find out the answers to these initial questions I’m going to declare this woman innocent until proven otherwise.