The mom of two was arrested for theft at the V&A Waterfront store on October 13 and held at the Table Bay Harbour Police Station holding cells.
The woman says she is a regular customer as she works close to the store, and even though she tried to explain that she simply forgot to pay for the roll, she was still busted and charged with theft.
She says she bought a cheese roll at the bakery section and “nibbled” on it while browsing the store for other items.
“During the time I was in the store, I became distracted and forgot about the empty roll packet in my hand and placed it in my pocket,” she explains.
“I proceeded to the till point to pay for the salad I had in hand and forgot to pay for the roll. The security in civilian clothing came up to me as I left and accused me of being a thief. I was in complete shock and said I would pay for it as it was a mere human error. They know me, why would I steal and risk my reputation?”
She was taken to the back of the store where she says she was made to stand on a crate while security made fun of her.
“They kept taking pictures of me. One of the staff members saw me in distress and called my workplace,” she says.
The distraught woman says she was bundled into the back of a police van and taken to the Table Bay Harbour station where she spent about three hours in a cell.
She was released that evening and told to return to the cop shop the next day for DNA testing, including a mouth swab and fingerprinting.
The woman’s lawyer managed to get the charges dropped but she now wants an apology from the Pick n Pay store.
Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk confirms the arrest and that the matter was withdrawn at the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on 15 October.
Pick n Pay spokesperson, Janine Caradonna, says the retailer regrets the way the woman was treated: “Our stores have procedures to prevent shoplifting, and customers are expected to identify and pay for any products they open or consume in the store.
“However, this case could have been handled more sensitively. We plan to meet the customer directly to apologise for what she experienced.”