Woman who benefitted from community generosity after being caught shoplifting now in jail on drug charges

Sarah Robinson's booking photo from Wyandotte County Jail.
Sarah Robinson’s booking photo from Wyandotte County Jail.

Sarah Robinson, the mother of five who benefitted from thousands of dollars in community donations after she was caught shoplifting at the Roeland Park Walmart last month, was in Wyandotte County Jail over the weekend awaiting transfer to the St. Louis area to make an appearance in court on federal drug charges.

Robinson was booked Friday on a warrant issued by the U.S. Marshalls. Roeland Park law enforcement officials said over the weekend they were unaware if the charges Robinson was facing were related to an incident that occurred before or after Officer Mark Engravalle sparked an outpouring of generosity for Robinson from people in Kansas City and across the country after he purchased the shoes, diapers and baby wipes she had been trying to steal for her children.

But a report from the Kansas City Star says Robinson was indicted by a St. Louis grand jury on July 1 on charges of intent to distribute methamphetamine, related to an alleged incident from early 2014.

After the story about Engravalle’s kind actions appeared on the Prairie Village Post, local radio stations organized donation drives to raise money for Robinson, who was struggling to find a place for herself and her five daughters to live. Listeners to KMBZ’s Dana and Parks show alone pitched in more than $6,000.

Robinson was still facing shoplifting charges in Roeland Park, and the attorney who had volunteered to represent her pro bono in the case had requested a continuance.

Engravalle received a letter of congratulations for his generosity from former president Bill Clinton last week.