DETROIT, MICH - Tricia Ann Kortes, the angry Kroger customer who drop-kicked a birthday cake in the middle of the bakery department, admits she needs to do a better job of controlling her temper.
“I apologize for my actions at Kroger,” Kortes said Thursday in 48th District Court, where she was sentenced on a charge of disorderly conduct. “I’m truly embarrassed by my conduct. I’ve been seeing my therapist and I plan to continue.”
Judge Kimberly Small sentenced Kortes to 300 hours of community service, 12 months of probation and a $500 fine. The judge also ordered Kortes to continue counseling — and to stay away from Kroger supermarkets.
“What concerns me is that something as trivial as a design on a cake literally threw you into a tizzy,” Small said to Kortes. “Here you are, in the middle of a public place, drop-kicking a cake and dropping the f-bomb. If I was shopping with a child, I’d be horrified. And, quite frankly, I think the child would be horrified, too.”
Kortes moved gingerly around the courtroom, having undergone emergency surgery a week ago for a bleeding ulcer. The 46-year-old Bloomfield Township woman pleaded no contest to the disorderly charge in August.
The case unfolded June 11, when Kortes came into the Kroger store on Telegraph Road in Bloomfield Township to pick up a “Batman v Superman” custom-decorated birthday cake for her 7-year-old son. Unhappy with the decorating job, she decided to go behind the bakery department to fix the cake.
After employees told her she wasn’t allowed behind the counter, Kortes drop-kicked the cake and then stomped on it, yelling “They f------ ruined my 7-year-old son’s birthday cake!” She then stormed out the store, kicking over a wet floor sign and not bothering to pay for the cake. Police tracked her down at her home, where she claimed the cake had slipped out of her hands.
On Thursday, defense attorney Gerald Gleeson said his client is ready to pay $25 to Kroger for the cake.
“I think the real Tricia Kortes has gotten lost in the media’s fascination over this case,” he told the judge. “Underneath, she’s a good person who truly cares about other people.”
Small admitted when she first learned of the cake-kicking case and started to review it, she initially assumed Kortes was suffering from some form of mental illness.
“That is not the case with you,” Small told Kortes. "When I received that (presentencing) report, I was pretty surprised to find there was no mental illness … you seem to throw temper tantrums when you don’t get what you want.”
She’s also a person with a history of confrontations. Along with the cake-kicking incident, Kortes has a case pending in Royal Oak’s 44th District Court for slapping a worker at Ray’s Ice Cream in July 2015 because the store ran out of her favorite flavor, Mackinac Island Fudge. That case is set for a pretrial hearing in October.
In March 2015, Kortes was arrested for assaulting a co-worker at her place of employment in Troy. She pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct in that case and was given a fine and ordered to take anger management classes.
Going further back, Kortes was convicted in 2003 on a fourth-degree assault charge in King County, Wash.
Gleeson said his client has now finished the anger management classes and is better equipped to deal with confrontations.
“I learned that it’s not worth it,” she told the judge. “That you really need to think things over ... it’s OK to be angry, but it’s how you react when you are angry.”
Small said she wants Kortes to perform the community service at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter, so she can witness firsthand how less-fortunate people are coping with their challenges.
"You live a beautiful life," Small told the defendant. "And you're upset over a cake."
(© 2016 WZZM)