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Tucson TV News Anchor Reflects on How a Shoplifting Charge Changed Her Life

On February 11, 2012, officers of the Tucson Police Department cited former Tucson KVOA news anchor Martha Vazquez on a shoplifting charge. According to the report that was filed, Vazquez was cited for shoplifting at the Dillard’s in the Tucson Mall after a loss prevention officer observed her conceal an Eileen Fisher jacket value at $338.00. After she was detained, a search of her belongings also yielded a pair of Kenneth Cole sunglasses valued at $30 that had also been shoplifted.

Vazquez said that after the shoplifting charges ended her 35-year career in broadcast journalism, her life hit “rock bottom.” She resigned her prominent position, sank into a deep depression and left Tucson for Washington State. Now, Vazquez says the time that she spent out of the public eye in Washington after her incident in 2012, was “a healing journey.” She is now back in Tucson; is being treated for depression and says that she wants to help others.

Vazquez, a sixty-one-year-old native of Tucson, and a graduate of the University of Arizona, said she left her hometown an empty and shattered woman. But with the help of her husband, she has regained her strength to live and feel good about herself. “I know I did wrong,” said Vazquez. “I own it. I did it. I paid the price. I am so sorry.” She went on to say, “I want people to know I made a terrible mistake … but I don’t want it to let it define me.” Vazquez asks those who spent years watching her on broadcasts, her friends, and the community for forgiveness.

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After her citation for shoplifting, she entered a diversion plea in the Tucson City Court; paid a $180 fee, and attended a nearly eight-hour counseling session. Her debt to society now repaid.

Today, she said she could talk about her “horrible act” that changed her life. “Two years ago, I still was overwhelmed by it, and I couldn’t talk about it. I had let myself and the people that trusted me in the community down, and I had tarnished my name over a stupid thing. I was angry at myself, upset and devastated,” she said through her tears. She had fallen into a paralyzing depression, and Vazquez says that what helped her rejuvenate into feeling good about herself again, was undergoing hypnosis, an unconventional treatment.

Now, as a certified hypnotherapist, Vazquez says that hypnosis has empowered her to realize she is “a good person who is worthy of love and respect. I got more pep in my step. I felt like there was a future for me. I was not done. It gave me hope, I want to help others,” she said. “One bad chapter in a book does not end a story.”

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