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Russian Supermarket Employees on Trial for Trapping Customer in Fridge

Three employees have gone on trial in St. Petersburg after allegedly locking a suspected thief in a supermarket fridge for more than half an hour, a news report said Friday.

The three employees of a local Dixy store stand accused of forcibly locking a female customer in a fridge last October after accusing her of theft, the FlashNord news site cited a spokesperson for the St. Petersburg Prosecutor's Office as saying.

The woman managed to call the police from inside the fridge, where she remained for about 40 minutes until law enforcement officers arrived on the scene, the report said.

The news comes as St. Petersburg authorities are investigating a separate incident involving what seems to be another overly aggressive reaction to suspicion of theft.

On Wednesday, it was widely reported that an 81-year-old pensioner had died in police custody after being detained on suspicion of stealing three packs of butter at a local Magnit store.

The woman, a veteran of the Siege of Leningrad, was believed to have suffered a heart attack upon arrival at the police station on the island town of Kronstadt.

Local prosecutors later said in an online statement that there were no reasonable grounds to suspect the elderly woman had committed any crime.

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