Extended Sentence

John Dermot Woods

A homeless man who had already been arrested by the police twice that month, described by one arresting officer as a dangerous indigent just waiting to get cuffed for a violent felony (according to the guy at the drycleaner next to the deli) was picked up again-this time for stealing a small carton of orange juice, and three boxes of Honey Bunches of Oats (but no milk). He was also charged with assault, as he had slapped the storeowner across the face when she tried to block his exit with the stolen goods. The man was confused when he was told by a police officer minutes later that he was being arrested for stealing cereal, as he claimed that his gluten allergy made it impossible to eat anything with wheat. Medical records confirmed that he did have a gluten allergy, but surveillance video confirmed that he nevertheless attempted to steal three boxes of cereal. The police considered letting the confused man go until he slapped the officer across his face, just as he had the storeowner. He said that he appreciated an occasional incarceration-if brief-as things on the street were not as simple as they once were.