Is it wrong to steal a loaf of bread to feed your starving family?
Well, suppose you've got a large starving family. Is it wrong to steal an "industrial-size package" of bread to feed them?
And what if your family don't like bread? They like brisket. Is that wrong?
Now, what if instead of giving it away, you sold it at a price that was practically giving it away? Would that be a crime?
If you are Bart Simpson, your answer to these questions would be an emphatic "hell no." But if you are the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, you have a decidedly different take on the matter, as a pair of alleged south county food thieves learned this week.
Fox 2 reports that Darin Nosser, 52, and Suzanne Kvernplassen, 55, were arrested at their home in the 500 block of Jeffords in Lemay on Thursday for allegedly repeatedly stealing large amounts of meat out of the smoker behind the south city location of Salt + Smoke (5625 Hampton Avenue, 314-727-0200) and then selling it to neighbors and friends.
Nosser has been charged with three counts of property damage in the first degree and two counts of misdemeanor stealing. Kvernplassen is charged as an accomplice in two of the crimes. Both are currently behind bars, with bail set at $20,000 for each.
It's the end of a long nightmare for the people at Salt + Smoke, who have seen their smoker badly damaged during the repeated thefts of "industrial-size" packages of brisket and pork butt. According to police, the restaurant was hit three separate times: on January 28, March 7 and April 3.
“It was a big problem and it’s hung over our heads significantly for a while, and so we couldn’t be more thrilled that we have some resolution here,” Tom Schmidt, co-owner of Salt + Smoke, tells Fox 2. “Thank you to the police; it really means a lot that they were able to track this down and follow through and get these arrests and make us feel better about going to bed at night and know that we can open tomorrow and just serve a great barbecue.”
But wait! What if your family don't like brisket? They like lobster. Is that so wrong?
Incredibly, the Post-Dispatch is reporting this afternoon that Nosser was out on bail for another food theft charge when he was arrested Thursday. According to court records, Nosser was charged with felony stealing in August after allegedly attempting to make off with two lobster tails at an area grocery store.
Police allege Nosser went to the Dierbergs at 2516 Lemay Ferry Road, ordered two lobster tails at the seafood counter, and then adjourned to another section of the store to shove said lobster tails down his pants. After he walked out without paying, police say, a security guard confronted him; Nosser responded by running away from the store and abandoning the illicit crustaceans. Police caught up to him not far from the scene.
The Post-Dispatch reports that the charge was raised to a felony because it was Nosser's fourth offense in the span of a decade. According to court records, he pleaded guilty to charges of theft in St. Louis County in 2009 and 2010.
In the brisket case, police say they already have recorded confessions from both of the suspects. They say the neighbors who bought the meat from the pair were not aware it had been stolen.
Some friendly advice to any would-be food thieves out there hoping to keep the sympathies of the community at large: Maybe just stick to bread.
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