ATHENS – The German discount retailer Lidl, which has 229 supermarkets in Greece, apologized for how the arrest of an elderly woman shoplifter was handled but said the branch manager was just following company policy.
The woman, 70, was said to be having severe financial difficulties and when she was caught stealing food was detained although other shoppers reportedly offered to pay for the goods and even the arriving police didn’t want to arrest her.
She was said to be so embarrased by the incident that she tried later to take her own life, media reports said, adding that she was living on 10,000 euros ($11,316) a year but that 4500 euros ($5092) went to her mortgage and 4000 euros ($4526) for medications not covered by Greece’s socialized medical insurance, leaving her little to live on.
“The recent incident that occurred in our Ilion branch deeply saddens us. The branch manager is instructed to pursue all necessary steps when dealing with criminal activity, as are all our branch managers,” said the supermarket chain, without further elaboration.
It added that, “The company’s management is aware of the incident and will ensure that it ends here. The company will be in touch with the customer in question to ensure that the incident comes to a close.”
Social media reports said that a rival chain, Sklavenitis, that is bigger than Lidl, sent food to her house but that wasn’t confirmed.