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Lawsuit: Cub customer fills up on free samples, detained on shoplifting charges

Lawsuit: Cub customer fills up on free samples, detained on shoplifting charges

Gem Lake retiree Erwin Lingitz visited the Cub Foods in White Bear Township in April 2010 to stock up, eventually reaching an unmanned table of free lunchmeat samples.

Sensing an opportunity, Lingitz filled his bags with over 1.4 pounds of the free meat. But when he tried to leave the store, Cub security stopped his on suspicions of shoplifting.

The Pioneer Press has the story:

A supermarket security guard feared a man was shoplifting after seeing him fill two produce bags with free samples, a spokesman for the White Bear Township grocery store said.

Erwin Lingitz, a retiree living in Gem Lake, had taken more than a pound of lunchmeat from an unattended sample table at the Cub Foods, thereby violating "societal norms" involving how many free samples a person should take, said Mike Siemienas, a spokesman for the company that owns the grocery chain.

"A reasonable person would not fill two produce bags with 1.4 pounds of deli meat samples to take out of the store," said Siemienas, of Supervalu Inc. "The plaintiff violated societal norms and common customer understanding regarding free sample practices."

Lingitz was arrested and charged with misdemeanor shoplifting and disorderly conduct -- charges that were later dropped. He filed a lawsuit against Cub owner Supervalu, the store security guard and three Ramsey County sheriff's deputies on Thursday.

Lingitz also claims to have sustained injuries during the incident. Photos of Lingitz with black eyes and various cuts/bruises were admitted with the lawsuit.

Did Lingitz violate "societal norms" by raiding the sample counter? Was Supervalu wrong to detain the elderly man on shoplifting charges?

 

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