A $2.45 box of pork flavored Shake and Bake was taken by a woman who wanted to serve her children something different for dinner.

Denise Nelson, 41, of Racine, was charged by the Racine County District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday with one misdemeanor count of retail theft. If convicted, Nelson faces up to two years, nine months in prison and/or fined up to $10,000. She was charged as a repeat offender.

According to the criminal complaint, Nelson had paid for a cart full of other items — pork chops, bacon, steak and cookies — but had put the box of Shake and Bake in a bag she was carrying at 4:57 p.m. Tuesday. Leaving the store with the cart full of items she had paid for and the bag with the Shake ‘n Bake she hadn’t paid for, Nelson left the Piggly Wiggly, 3900 Erie St.

When police were called to the scene, they were speaking to store staff when she interrupted the conversation and explained that she wasn’t sure she had enough cash on her food stamp card to buy the breading. She was tired of feeding her children macaroni and cheese and that’s why she stole it, she told police.

Police noted in the report that Nelson was rude and had to be told to quiet down several times or he would arrest her for disorderly conduct.

Nelson, who was on probation for burglary and bail jumping, was arrested and taken to the Racine County Jail for a probation hold and retail theft.


Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.