Arresting Toddlers for 'Shoplifting' Still Not Okay

Four-year-old Savannah Harp can't read or write, because she's four, and you know how toddlers are (not very literate!). But that didn't stop a Safeway security guard from making her sign a document banning her from Safeway supermarkets until the end of time.

The guard was only trying to punish Harp for committing the grievous crime of "surreptitious apricot snacking," defined under the Washington state criminal code as "quietly grabbing a box of dried apricots off the shelf at the Safeway, munching on the dessicated, fiber-filled contents contained therein, then putting the box back on the shelf, while escaping your dad's notice." Oh, but the guard noticed, and pulled Harp and her pops into an interrogation room:

The girl's mother, Alissa Jones, said the guard proceeded to tell Harp's father that the tot was banned from the store and that it would be pressing charges.

"He told them, ‘Your daughter stole and she's banned from the store, and we're pressing charges. And she needs to sign this form saying she understands she can't come into any Safeways,'" Jones said, according to ABC News Seattle affiliate KOMO 4 News.

Savannah, who can't read or write yet, was forced to scribble on the piece of paper.

Safeway officials heard about the incident and fired the security guard because suggesting that toddlers should be arrested for doing innocent toddler things is just crazy. Also, you might remember that Safeway just had a shoplifting-related PR problem when a guard at a store in Hawaii called the cops on a pregnant woman and her husband for eating a $5 sandwich. Sounds like a mandatory refresher course in sensible law enforcement might be in order.

The fired security guard now works for TSA.

[ABC, Post-Intelligencer. Image via ABC]