Sunday, August 30, 2009

Unhand That Cart Or You Are a Dead Man

Woman charged in dispute over shopping cart

By Drew Harwell, Times Staff Writer
Aug 16, 2009

ST. PETE BEACH — The grocery cart was hers, she said.

"I have a knife," Joy Smith, 58, told another shopper. "Give me back my cart."

Smith had been shopping Saturday at the St. Pete Beach Sweetbay Supermarket, an arrest report states. She had a Mighty Dog coupon and a few bucks to buy animal shelter supplies.

"I was just buying kitty-cat food," she said Sunday.

Then she met Peter Hagan. He began to harass her in the produce aisles, she said. She was scared.

Then he took her cart. She asked for it back, police wrote. Hagan held firm.

"Go get your own," he said.

Smith would not. She pulled out a pocket knife, held it at her hip. It was a bent and dinky little thing, she said. It couldn't cut butter.

"It wouldn't even open. I had a hand over the blade," she said. "I was going to get the handle and smack him on the nose, like you do an alligator."

Hagan, however, was terrified. He backed off and surrendered the cart, bursting into tears and calling Smith a bully. Smith reclaimed the cart and was last seen fleeing the store with the cart. Hagan asked the store manager to call police and filed an assault complaint against Smith, alleging Smith had threatened to kill him.

Police came at 8:25 p.m. to 7560 Bay Island Drive and arrested her with a charge of aggravated assault. She was taken to jail, had her mug shot taken. Then she was released.

Sweetbay banned her from the grocery store, she said. She needed a police escort to retrieve her van. But it wasn't all bad.

"At least I got my coupon back," she said. "I thought I lost my coupon."

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