BLAINE, MN — Police are investigating an Instacart shopper who allegedly ran over an elderly couple’s groceries after supposedly leaving a crude, anti-police note on the wreath hanging on their door.
A purple-haired Instacart driver destroyed an elderly couple's "carefully budgeted" $50 of groceries because they have a yard sign that reads "thank you Blaine P.D."https://t.co/JxW7kikO8I— Alpha News (@AlphaNewsMN) December 11, 2021
In a press release, the Blaine Police Department confirmed the couple received a full refund from Instacart and further noted:
“The delivery driver has been identified and the investigation continues with charges likely in the near future.
“Please note that while it is wonderful to see the community support for this family, we cannot accept donations for them at the police department.
“Thank you once again to our wonderful Blaine community for the support that you have shown to this family.”
Instacart had replied to a concerned Twitter user and confirmed the incident was reported to its Trust and Safety Team:
“We truly understand the concern with this matter and we can confirm that this has been reported to our Trust and Safety Team for review. We take these matters seriously! – Lupita”
We truly understand the concern with this matter and we can confirm that this has been reported to our Trust and Safety Team for review. We take these matters seriously! – Lupita— Instacart (@Instacart) December 12, 2021
According to a report by KSTP:
“The couple had placed an order for delivery from Cub Foods the morning of Dec. 6, and once the driver arrived at their home, the couple went outside to meet the driver.
“The driver yelled for them to check inside their Christmas wreath, where they found a receipt with a ‘derogatory message’ written on it.
“The couple told police that they didn’t find any groceries on the front porch; instead, they said the groceries had been run over in the driveway.”
Facebook user Amber Gray claimed to be a relative of the couple and described the alleged incident:
“I have a story. It’s a sad one. Today two of my elderly relatives were victims of a hateful act. Targeted because of a small yard sign supporting their local police department.
“These people are two of the most beautiful, generous, loving souls I’ve ever known. This past year has been a rollercoaster of heartache and big life changes for them. Money is tight. Vulnerability is high.
“This morning they made an Instacart grocery purchase to be delivered to their door. Nothing crazy. Just a couple of bags worth. They received the usual notifications; Tara is shopping, Tara is on her way, Tara is in your neighborhood.
“Worried that Tara might struggle in their un-shoveled driveway, they rushed out to meet her. As they opened the door they heard Tara screaming for them to check inside their Christmas wreath.
“It also seemed that she was stuck in the driveway, rocking the car back and forth to get free? Seeing no groceries anywhere they checked the wreath. To their utter disbelief they found a hateful note crudely scribbled on a random receipt.
“In harsh bold marker it read, ‘Instacart doesn’t pay employees sry find another slave fuck the police racist pigs’.
“A short time later they discovered their groceries in the driveway, casualties of Tara’s hateful act. She wasn’t stuck after all, she was running their groceries over.
“Tara probably doesn’t know how carefully those $50 in groceries were budgeted for. Or how devastating the recent medical diagnosis has been. Or how scared and vulnerable her vile act of hatred made them feel.
“My heart breaks for my loved ones.
“Supporting law enforcement doesn’t make you racist. And it absolutely doesn’t give anyone the right to destroy your things or shatter your sense of safety.
“I can only hope that Instacart does the right thing here and holds Tara accountable.
“I hope the Police Department is able to find Tara.
“I pray for Tara. I pray that she gets help. I pray that she never knows the kind of pain and fear she caused today. May she be blessed with a wonderful holiday season.”
During a Dec. 13 update, Gray posted that “Tara” allegedly would no longer be working for Instacart:
“We continue to be blown away by the show of support! Instacart has taken this very seriously and have assured us that Tara will no longer be working for them.
“The police department has been fielding dozens of calls from concerned citizens questioning the GoFundMe.
“They continue to assure folks that it isn’t a scam. We have also been able to provide them with a name based on information received from someone who saw this Facebook post.
“We hope that by bringing attention to what happened they can help prevent a similar incident. ”
Gray posted a GoFundMe grocery fundraiser for her relatives and has raised over $7,300 from 110 donors so far “due to the overwhelming response” from people who saw her Facebook post and wanted to help.
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Many of the comments on the fundraiser were positive.
Nichole London posted:
“This story should be national news, what an absolute disgrace. Thank you to Amber for sharing, and for your support of the police. God bless you, and have a Merry Christmas.”
Brian Allen wrote:
“I love the Blaine Police!!!”
Mark Carnegie noted:
“I hope this little bit helps. Please forget this and try to have a Merry Christmas! From your Canadian neighbours.”
Dennis Hawkings posted:
“No one deserves to be treated this way, and the ones that do this need to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. This was all because of a sign, how childish are these people.”
Jill Heuring wrote:
“Merry Christmas and God bless you!! #backtheblue.”
However, some people became suspicious.
For example, on the GoFundMe account, one person, S Rivera, asked for a refund because the person was concerned about the timeframe indicated on the receipt that was allegedly used by “Tara” to write a nasty note.
Assuming the receipt that Tara allegedly wrote on is the one that belonged to the couple, one donor wrote:
“I’d like a refund. The receipt for $5.59 shows shredded cheese purchased at 12:48 AM. The Instacart shoppers screenshot photo is from 7:55 AM. Do instacart shoppers shop at midnight?”
It is not clear why the person assumed the receipt belonged to the couple. It may have been a random receipt or even Tara’s personal receipt that was used to leave a note for the elderly couple.
The receipt in question is dated Dec. 4, which is two days before the alleged running over of groceries on Dec. 6.
Still, on Facebook there were quite a few comments about the fundraiser from other social media detectives who decided they did not approve of it as of Dec. 13.
Angie DeJesus posted:
“How come the receipt has 1 item and there are a few bags of groceries??”
Amanda Buschman wrote:
“It doesn’t make sense to me that a GoFundMe account had to be set up when Instacart refunded your groceries. As a former Instacart shopper, I’m sure they issued you a refund. If your relatives are tight on money, they honestly should not be ordering Instacart and instead should have family members bring them in groceries.”
Braid E Cardia expressed concern:
“Was there a police report filed with the Blaine police department? I’m not finding any record of what you described. I also noticed the go-fund-me is set up in your name, not the family member you speak of. My concern is to an outsider this kinda looks like a scam. Hope not!”
Others took swipes at the police department and Republicans.
Jasmin Aza posted:
“Ask Blaine PD for the $500 as a token for your support. They have the budget.”
Jennifer John wrote:
“Another Republican with a fake story and a GoFundMe to grift the people stupid enough to believe it.
“One call to Instacart would have solved this issue, so anyone falling for this scam is ignorant af .”
Other Facebook users simply mimicked responses from others.
In two separate, but back-to-back posts, Gareth Turtle wrote:
“This didn’t happen so much it unhappened things that had.
“Of all the things that didn’t happen, this didn’t happen the most.”
Misty Patton-Stephenson similarly posted:
“Of all the things that never happened, this never happened the most.”
Amanda Lindsey tried her best to mimic the same message:
“The receipt doesn’t match, Of all the things that didn’t happen, this happened the didn’t’est.”
Facebook users also made several comments about Tara as of Dec. 13, and they were not exactly flattering.
Linda Daniels posted:
“Tara looks like a man! He / she probably quit Instacart right away so as to try not to be tracked down. But Instacart must have record of who this person is! I am so sorry this happened!”
Katrina Anderson seemed to agree:
“Scary individual. Pretty sure that’s not a female.”
Natasha Small wrote:
“I pm’d you here on fb with his info! Check your message requests. Guy is NUTS!!!
“You all sound so ignorant. This guy really is insane. I’ve been unfortunate enough to encounter him myself.”
Sharon Thompson-Johnson posted:
“Amber, like you I will pray for Tara. What a horrible life she must have being so negative and against our people that put their lives in danger every hour of every day to protect us the people. God’s Blessings to our Police and to your family members that had to endure the meanness of this person, Tara.”
Caresse Anderson noted:
“What a pile this person is. So she feels that she can destroy other people’s stuff because they have different beliefs than her. She deserves to be locked up though I know she probably won’t be and she should have to pay back 3 times what she destroyed immediately not like the years from now. What a horrible despicable person.”
Despite all the negative comments about Tara, one person showed support for the alleged purple-haired rage shopper.
Kassi Mae posted:
“You’re honestly an evil woman. I cannot believe what I’m seeing. You scammed all of these people and are trying to get someone doxxed by a bunch of republican wack jobs while you’re at it. Don’t pray for Tara girl pray for your damn self. #ProtectTara.”
At the end of the thread, it was noted on Facebook that “Amber Gray limited who can comment on this post.”
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