Charges have been dismissed against a woman accused of assaulting a Goodwill employee when she tried to get back family heirlooms she accidentally dropped off at the Goodwill collection trailer.
“I’m 54 years old and had never been in any trouble until this,” said Sandra Luna after charges were dismissed Tuesday. “It still makes me sick thinking about it and knowing I’ll probably never get my pictures back.”
Luna, who has been battling cancer, was hit with assault charges after an incident that happened at the Goodwill donation trailer at Plaza Shopping Center. She went to the trailer to drop off some items, but while doing so she inadvertently left some family heirlooms including some priceless hand-stitched pictures given to her by a family member many years ago.
Luna said she returned to the donation trailer a short time later but was told by Joyce Sanders, who was working at the trailer, she would not be allowed to take the items since they had already been donated to Goodwill.
“It’s right there,” Luna recalled telling Sanders as she pointed to the items that bore inscriptions of her name on the back. “It was hard for me to believe she couldn’t return something that was just left by accident.”
Luna said she picked up one of the pictures to show Sanders what she was talking about. That’s when she said Sanders grabbed the picture and a tug of war ensued.
Sanders recalled the incident another way and told police Luna dug her fingernails into her arm. Sanders did not wish to comment following the short hearing Tuesday.
Luna said Sanders threatened to call the police on her. Luna then left the trailer and went to the local Goodwill store at Cumberland Plaza to report what happened. She did not realize the trailer and the store itself are not closely affiliated. When she arrived, police were waiting for her. She was cited into court on assault charges.
In the meantime, the Goodwill company has pledged to help find Luna’s possessions. They also strongly urged Sanders to dismiss the assault charge against Luna.
According to Luna’s attorney, Trenena Stanley, Sanders misunderstood the employee handbook when it comes to returning items to those who donate them. Specifically, Stanley said the handbook says employees are not to take items from collection sites. It does not prevent those who have donated items to return to retrieve them while they are still at the site.
While Goodwill is trying to find Luna’s heirlooms, she still feels victimized and says she will never do business with the company again.
“It’s been so embarrassing,” Luna said. “All I wanted was my pictures back and it led to all of this.”
Luna’s record will be expunged, meaning it will be erased in light of the dismissal by prosecutors.