BATON ROUGE - U.S. Sen. David Vitter is calling on Louisiana's social services office to disqualify food stamp recipients who overspent their balance when the electronic food stamp service was down.

Vitter sent a letter Wednesday to Suzy Sonnier, the secretary of the state's Department of Children and Family Services, saying anyone who "knowingly stole groceries" should be barred from getting further food stamps.

The senator's letter comes after reports that earlier this month, Wal-Mart stores in Mansfield and Springhill allowed food stamp recipients to make unlimited purchases when the electronic benefit card system was down and balances couldn't be checked.

Sonnier says her office has already requested permission from federal officials to sanction anyone who knowingly overspent their food stamp allocation. She says she expects to receive a decision Thursday.

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