Tara Plum is the Instacart driver in Blaine, Minnesota, who is accused of running over an “elderly” couple’s groceries, “in response to a sign supporting law enforcement that is in the homeowner’s front yard,” police said.
The Minneapolis StarTribune reported that Tara Olivia Plum, 36, of Coon Rapids “was cited for criminal damage to property” and faces up to 90 days in jail. The incident occurred on December 6, 2021. According to the newspaper, the couple, who have not been identified, ordered $50 in groceries through the grocery delivery service.
Here’s what you need to know:
Police Say The Couple Saw Plum Running Over Their Groceries
In a press release titled “Instacart Delivery Incident,” Captain Mark Boerboom of the Blaine Police Department in Minnesota wrote:
On December 6, 2021, an elderly couple reported that they had placed a grocery order from a local Cub Foods and requested delivery via the Instacart delivery service. They reported that once they received notification that the driver was at their house, they decided to meet the driver outside due to the amount of snow in their driveway and being worried that the driver may get stuck if they had to pull into the driveway.
When the couple opened the front door, the delivery driver yelled back at them to check inside of their Christmas wreath. They also reported the driver was driving back and forth in the driveway. Upon checking inside of the wreath, they located the receipt from the grocery order with a derogatory message. After the delivery driver left they found that their groceries had been run over in the driveway.
After reviewing the content of the written message it appears that the delivery driver’s actions were in response to a sign supporting law enforcement that is in the homeowner’s front yard.
The homeowners received a full refund from Instacart and an outpouring of support from the community. 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 blame community for the support that you have shown to this family.
The Message Told the Couple to ‘Find Another Slave,’ Reports Say
The StarTribune reported that the “derogatory message” left for the couple said: “Instacart doesn’t pay employees sry find another slave.” It also labeled police “racist pigs.” According to Fox9, the message read, “Instacart doesn’t pay employees sry find another slave f*** the police racist pigs.”
According to an October 2021 article by The Guardian, some Instacart workers, concerned about “falling wages, unmanageable orders and lack of concern from the company,” were preparing to strike. The outlet notes that Instacart’s pay structure has also prompted “at least two class-action lawsuits.”
The couple had a sign displayed in their yard that said, “THANK YOU BLAINE P.D.,” and the letter “O” in the couple’s sign was replaced with a heart containing a thin-blue-line flag, according to a GoFundme page created to raise money for the couple.
The thin blue line flag has been a source of controversy, NPR reported in November 2019.
“The flag, which shows a thin blue stripe in place of one of the flag’s standard 13 red stripes, is meant to show support for law enforcement — but the ‘thin blue line’ flag also has been associated, at times, with white nationalists,” the outlet reported.
The outlet later noted, “The flag has been used in association with the Blue Lives Matter movement, a pro-police group formed in response to Black Lives Matter and its protests against police violence toward black people.”
After the flag “appeared among the Confederate flags toted by the white supremacists and neo-Nazis” in the 2017 Charlottesville protests, at least one maker of the flag spoke out, USA Today reported.
“We reject, in the strongest possible terms, any association of our flag with racism, hatred, and bigotry,” said Thin Blue Line USA in a statement, the outlet reported. “To use it in such a way tarnishes what it and our nation believe in. The thin blue line flag stands for the sacrifice law enforcement officers of this nation make each day. We ask our nation to hold faith with those that defend the thin blue line.”
Community Rallies Around Couple
The GoFundMe page created to benefit the couple who lost their grocery order has raised more than $13,000 for a “grocery fund” for the couple.
“We continue to be blown away by the amazing support! Not only will this provide help with groceries and other necessities for a long time to come but your generosity will also go towards current and upcoming medical expenses,” a December 14 message on the page, organized by Amber Gray, says.
An update posted earlier the same day says, “A huge thank you to the Blaine Police Department for taking this matter seriously and for all of the support they have shown my family. And I want to echo their gratitude to the community for their level of support as well! ❤️”
Gray also wrote, on December 12, “Wow! What an amazing group of people! When we started this we never imagined this would happen. We continue to be humbled and deeply moved by the outpouring of support you’ve shown.”
On December 15, 2021, the family decided to stop accepting donations, writing, “Wow…we are humbled by the overwhelming support and generosity from each one of you. This was completely unexpected and truly a blessing. Thank you doesn’t even begin to describe how grateful we are. At this time, we have decided to close the page, as we no longer feel comfortable accepting more donations. We do know, however, that some of you still wish do contribute. All we ask is that you pay it forward to someone or somewhere in your local community.”
The couple’s sign said “Thank you Blaine PD,” according to the StarTribune newspaper, which quoted the police chief as saying the incident could not be considered a hate crime because, “We would have to prove the act was committed based on the victim’s perceived race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age or national origin.”
Plum Ranted About the Citation on Facebook
According to Daily Mail, Plum posted on Facebook after the incident, writing, “Disorderly conduct and property damage for running over Instacart groceries that I wasn’t paid to deliver and the customer got reimbursed by Instacart, but somehow I damaged their property that they weren’t getting because the delivery person and shopper of the order didn’t get f****** paid.'”
Plum’s Facebook page could not immediately be found. According to Daily Mail, Instacart revealed in a statement that the company was “appalled by the unacceptable actions of this shopper, who has been removed from the Instacart platform as a result.”
The company wrote, “We’ll continue to provide support to the impacted customers and will also work directly with local law enforcement on any investigations into this matter.”