Family Stops Woman's Spending Spree

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Paul Krueger
    Mothers line up outside the store Thursday, hoping the mystery shopper returns.

    A North County woman’s sudden spending spree at an Oceanside clothing store is over - at least for now.

    Word spread fast that Claudia Smith was buying shopping carts full of clothes for "poor Hispanic women" at a discount store in Oceanside.

    Waiting to Shop With an "Angel"

    [DGO] Waiting to Shop With an "Angel"
    In North County, a large crowd looked for a woman Thursday morning characterized by some as an "angel" after she paid for customers' shopping sprees. (Published Thursday, Jun 9, 2011)

    More than fifty people lined up outside a North County store Thursday morning waiting for Smith to return. Some of those waiting called her their "angel.”

    It all started when Smith showed up Tuesday at the "Everything A Deal" discount store on Plaza Drive.

    She bought shopping carts full of clothing and other items worth $2,000 for Maria del Carmen Vargas and another woman.

    Smith returned Wednesday and bought $5,000 worth of merchandise for about fifty women.

    On Thursday, a crowd gathered in anticipation for Smith. Some even said they saw her drive through the parking lot in front of the store and then leave. They think she was scared by the crowd and a news crew.

    Her son and grandson arrived around noon and told the women waiting that Smith would not be back.

    Store manager Marco Mitrowke said he's never seen anything like yesterday's charity shopping spree.

    “It was a controlled madness, is what it was," he said.

    "We have a total of about 35 shopping carts in the store and all of them were full and to the brim and then people were putting stuff on the floor and piling up.”

    Smith lives in a senior community a few miles from the shopping center.

    Her grandson said she’s a passionate and generous woman, who used to live in Mexico, where she helped poor women and children.

    But, the grandson said, he and his father are trying to help Smith control her spending.