Woman says she was maced by bakery owner; investigation finds cakes from 'scratch' sold at Walmart

Our sister station began looking into the Popcorn Suite in New Jersey after complaints flooded its investigators' inboxes.

ByChad Pradelli KGO logo
Friday, May 6, 2022
Women says she was maced by bakery owner while picking up free cake
Action News began looking into the Popcorn Suite in Camden County, New Jersey after numerous complaints flooded our investigative team inbox.

BERLIN, N.J. -- A woman turned to our sister station WPVI after she says a South Jersey bakery owner maced her over a dispute when she tried to pick up a cake she won in a Facebook promotion.

WPVI began looking into the Popcorn Suite in Berlin, located approximately 20 miles southeast of Philadelphia, after numerous complaints flooded its investigative team's inbox.

Customers said the owner, Wakeeta Rowe, failed to deliver baked goods. Others accused the bakery of selling cakes and doughnuts from other local stores while claiming they were freshly baked.

Sharon Karbach said her dispute happened after she won a free cake in a February Facebook contest to promote the new bakery.

Wakeeta Rowe

"I picked up the bag of popcorn, and I held it from left to right across my face, and she actually maced the bag of popcorn," " Sharon Karbach told WPVI.

Karbach said she mutually scheduled with Rowe to pick up her cake in mid-March.

When she arrived at the bakery, she said Rowe told her it wasn't ready.

"She said that I was impatient, I was ignorant, and I didn't deserve the cake," Karbach said. "I said, 'You just wasted my time.'"

A dispute ensued. Karbach said that's when Rowe maced her for not leaving the store.

Karbach called 911 but said Rowe told police she was the victim.

"I started backing up towards the door ... like this lady's crazy, all this over a cake?" Karbach added.

The alleged assault is one of the various complaints.

The Popcorn Suite was set to be highlighted in February on a WPVI program when the investigative team began receiving complaints.

"There is not a cake we cannot craft," Rowe said during an interview for the program.

But how much baking Rowe actually does is in question.

At that time, she told a WPVI producer: "We also craft a delicious cake doughnut. The good thing about cake doughnuts is they're lighter, less calories than fried doughnuts."

But WPVI's investigation found those "cake doughnuts" are actually made by a Long Island baker by the name of Hannah who didn't want her last name used.

Hannah said, before they finalized their agreement, Rowe went on Facebook to claim she made the "cake doughnuts."

"Don't say that you bake it in-house. You can say you offer this product, but don't say that you bake it, because that's lying, in my opinion," Hannah said.

Rowe was also unable to remember the flavors of doughnuts she claimed to make when asked by the producer.

"I can't remember them off the top of my head ... Let me look at my phone real quick," Rowe said.

Action News found a cake being advertised on the Popcorn Suite's Facebook, which looks exactly like a cake on the shelf at Walmart.

In its investigation, WPVI found a cake being advertised on the Popcorn Suite's Facebook page that looked exactly like a cake on the shelf at Walmart.

Customer Stephanie Spancake said she made the discovery.

Spancakes said the cake was $12.99 at Walmart.

"She was selling it for $50 at her place," Spancake said.

Oreo doughnuts advertised on the Popcorn Suite's Facebook page appear to be from the famous Beiler's at Reading Terminal in Philadelphia.

"She came in twice, three times a week sometimes," said owner Keith Beiler ."She got a bunch of doughnuts, pies, cakes, and we loaded up her van."

Beiler said he didn't mind if Rowe sold his product -- he liked the money.

Rowe declined WPVI's request for an on-camera interview.

In a phone call, she admitted that she buys from Beiler's.

As for that Walmart cake, she said she buys from the same supplier as the big-box store.

"If you look at her Facebook page, she clearly states over and over that these are cakes she made from scratch," Spancake said.

The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs said it's issued a cease and desist order for the Popcorn Suite due to the bakery's failure to post prices and a refund policy.

Karbach has filed a complaint summons in the macing incident. A court hearing is set for next week.