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  1. #1

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    I think Wal-Mart is trying to arrest me.

    First a bit about my wife and I. My wife is attending ISU getting her degree in Early Childhood Education and Sociology, with minors in psychology and a few others. I am attending Liberty University online getting my AA in Religion and plan on transferring to ISU next year for my BA.



    I have a problem. I was at Wal-Mart the other day, I think it was within the last week. And I was looking at a laptop computer (my wife uses mine, which is kind of old and slow and our daughters, which is small and not very powerful, at the moment).

    I initially read the price a few hundred dollars less than what was on it, I'm not sure if I was looking at the price or another number. But as I walked around, waiting for my wife's prescription, I got to looking at it and saw that it was actually $498. So, I thought I'd call my parents to ask if they could help out. My phone did not have any battery life left and so I placed it over in mensware, so I went and picked up my wife's prescription and left. I had some boxes in the buggy that I got from the salesfloor (my son is living with his mother right now and I was going to box up some of his stuff we have in bags now). As I left, I offered my receipt for the prescription and the lady at the door waved me on and told me to have a nice day. I got home, plugged in my phone and called my mom and dad. They could help, but it would be later this week before they could. So, I figured it'll be there when I got back to Wal-Mart and get the moneygram.

    My wife and I were at Wal-Mart last night, the laptop wasn't there when I looked,(while she was shopping, I figured I could get it, go get the money and hide it in the van before she knew) and she got a phone call from her mom. Her mom told her that the police wanted to speak with her. So my wife got the number and called them. The officer on the phone asked her to stay at Wal-Mart until he got there.

    When he arrived he questioned her and they got our information and he told her that her van was used in a theft that had occurred several days ago. They showed a picture of what looked like me coming into the store (even the officer said it was fuzzy).

    I asked the officer what this was about and then he started questioning me. He asked me if I stole a laptop. I told him no. He then said, "so you didn't leave the store with a laptop". I told him no. He then said, "so if I look at the tape I won't see you taking a laptop". I at this point thought "oh crap". I know where this is heading. But in the line of questioning, "did you steal", I told him no. I assured him that no where on tape will he see me stealing a laptop because I didn't steal one.

    I admit I was scared at this point because I didn't know what was going on. But Wal-Mart is apparently claiming I stole a laptop at some point in the last week and I didn't want to volunteer the information that I was wanting to buy one at the moment because I thought that he had us wait there for him and his line of questioning that I stole one according to Wal-Mart that something would happen to me if I said I was looking at one and wanting to buy it (the money is still at Wal-Mart in the moneygram that was going to help buy it).

    Can they do this? My wife already takes medicine for anxiety and now because of Wal-Mart saying I stole something days ago they contacted the police and they contacted her family (we just recently moved to this location for her to go back to school). Which she is all stressed out about now.

    I didn't steal anything. My wife's future career (teaching special needs children) could be in jeopardy because of this, my future career would definitely be in question (wanting to work in the church).

    Can Wal-Mart get away with this? Can they say I stole something and not have any proof that I did, or show that I stole something? Can I be arrested for this? They showed me a picture of me coming into the store. Had they shown me leaving I could have pointed out that there is no laptop anywhere and I offered my receipt for the lady at the door. If they thought I stole it, why didn't they stop me when I left? Shouldn't they have watched the video and shown me putting it down in mensware? I didn't steal anything but now we're mixed up in this and I don't know what Wal-Mart is going to try to do. Do I have any recourse? Wal-Mart is saying that I stole something days ago and we were stopped and questioned by the police

    I'm worried about this and what this could do to us. I don't know what to do. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    -me

  2. jacksgal's Avatar
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    There is a criteria for making a shoplifting stop that most major stores follow. They are commonly called "steps". One of these "steps" is constant observation! You will require an Attorney to fight this. Let me understand this correctly as therer is much unneeded info in your post.

    . You selected a lap top and left area with it
    . You walked about with laptop
    . You placed laptop down inside of store before exiting?

    Try visiting the link in my signature line there are experts in this area on that forum site. In mean time consult and hire an Attorney seek video through discovery process. Did you tell police where you left laptop?
    For non legal parenting help go to www.parentnook.com

  3. #3
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    When you say you put it in the mens wear section, where did you put it? Did you stash it in a rack of clothes?

    I would say that if the police didn't arrest you right then and there, then that's probalby the end of it. I would call the store and ask for the manager, and demand to know what is going on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tpajet View Post
    When you say you put it in the mens wear section, where did you put it? Did you stash it in a rack of clothes?

    I would say that if the police didn't arrest you right then and there, then that's probalby the end of it. I would call the store and ask for the manager, and demand to know what is going on.

    The Manager is under no obligation to discuss this with OP. In fact he/she would be stupid to do so
    For non legal parenting help go to www.parentnook.com

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    Fair enough, but if they really had something on him, wouldn't they have arrested him right then? He said he placed it in men's wear. And I'm guessing this was one of the deal where they have them stacked in and aisle near electronics, so it's not actually in that department, and as such you can pay up front. But it also sounds like he stashed it somewhere in men's wears to go back for it later, hence he hid it somewhere.

    So I can understand there being a type of concealment, but not to where he actually left the store with it. And that's where I guess I'm trying to get at with this, is can he demand from someone (maybe the police) to see what Wal-Mart claims they have?

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    Can Wal-Mart get away with this? Can they say I stole something and not have any proof that I did, or show that I stole something?
    They can take it as far as the police and/or D.A. will let them. They're certainly allowed to make the allegation to the police. The authorities will investigate and decide whether there is any reason to press charges.

    My two cents (one point five cents CDN): Sounds preposterous to me. There is no law against carrying an item from one part of the store to another.

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    so they didn't arrest you, they didn't see you stash it, they let you out of the store and they claim something fuzzy when you where leaving.......

    Sounds very bogus from their end really.

    If they cant prove you did anything wrong, then DO NOT sighn any paperwork they give you DO NOT unless its in a police station and handed to you by a police officer on Duty.

    EDIT:
    The might pressure you but thats All they can do if you didn't shoplift period.
    They will eventually realize their mistake and those papers are going to be damage control (at your expense).
    Last edited by UserXVI; 09-18-2009 at 08:53 AM.

  8. #8
    jacksgal's Avatar
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    Ok you may still have a problem. Looking up Iowa shoplifting laws on www.thelaw.com it appears that concealment is a crime in your state. Depending on where and how you placed laptop they may still have a case. Not a strong one mind you but indeed a case.
    For non legal parenting help go to www.parentnook.com

  9. #9

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    on going

    My wife and I were called to the police dept to speak with the Sgt. from the other night. He first spoke with her (showed her video) and then me.

    When I first walked back there he stopped and started asking me questions. He asked about my car (I drive a black car), he asked about the laptop, what I did with it, so forth. He stated that he understood if I sold it because of money issues, etc... I told him that we have savings and that my parents help us out (I'm blessed in that), so we aren't in need of money. He said did you at any time go into electronics. I said yes. He said ok. He asked if I bought my wife's medication. I said yes. He asked if I left the store with a laptop. I said no.

    I told him again, I didn't steal a laptop. I didn't steal anything. He said ok and led me back to his office and started video. It showed me walking through electronics and picking up the laptop and setting it on top of the buggy in plain view and walking off. I said yes that's me. He asked about the boxes in the buggy. I told him that I got those in the store. We moved here about 1-2 months ago and we are still throwing things out and separating stuff. My oldest son doesn't live with us anymore so we are trying to keep stuff and throw stuff away. Plus the little ones like the smaller boxes because they use them for toys and such and call them "secret boxes".

    I told him that I wasn't trying to be sneaky and that they can follow me through the store on camera and see what all I'm doing. It's not the first time I've gotten boxes at walmart or any other store. As the video ran, it showed me going into mensware. I said there.. right there. That's where I went to put it. But they didn't have any video of mensware at all. I told him no, there are camera bubbles all over the place. I was right on the corner of that area in the front of the store, something they have has to show something.

    He then showed me a video of me buying my wife's medication. He asked what was in my buggy. I told him again - boxes. He said you understand that walmart doesn't know what you have in those boxes, right? I told him I TRIED to show my receipt to the lady at the door to check me and SHE waved me on. I told him, they have me leaving the store, then it should show that, he agreed that it did. But he said again, they don't know what was in those boxes. I said then is this right?! I tried to show my receipt and get checked out. I was waved on and walmart is saying _I_ should have done more?

    He called the security (I think, because he was talking about the video with whomever he was speaking). He said, yeah, I have him in the electronics. He said that he comes in with boxes in the buggy. No, there's a box right there, I can see a box where the laptop is said to be. No, he sets the laptop ontop of everything. Ok, well, I see him going into mensware (mens dept). Do you have any video there?

    He got off the phone and told me they don't have video cameras in that area because of the fitting rooms. I told him I was no where near the fitting rooms. I was on the corner of mensware at the front of the store and the fitting room is far from where I was at (I have since found out that they can have cameras in the area as long as you can't see them from inside the fitting room - you have to be able to look up and out of the fitting room and not see and camera).

    He told me that from what he sees, he's not going to press charges on me. He can't prove or show that I took it. I told him I didn't take it and I understand that you hear that all day long, but this isn't right. It's wrong what walmart is doing.

    After we talked, I asked him to speak to my wife to calm her down, which he did (through it all, he was very polite and nice). He told us that he didn't know what walmart would do, but if they came after me civilly, that we could call him, have him subpoenaed. That he'll have the case file and he would have to testify as to what he saw and didn't see. I said they can continue this!?

    I asked if we have any recourse and his advice on the matter. He said if were him, he'd drop it. I asked him for his off the record advice on whether we should get an attorney and he said, you're not being arrested, like I said, I'd drop it. I told him this wasn't right what they are doing.

    My wife and I talked about it and decided that,we won't pursue it. Just shop elsewhere and if we have to go into walmart, have a manager or someone check our receipt.

    Well ... I got a call the other night from the Sgt. He was asking me if I bought anything else. Did I go through another register. What about the other items in my buggy. I told him I didn't buy anything else, I didn't go through a register, and the items were empty boxes - they weren't items or merchandise. He asked me about detergent. If I bought any of that. I said so. I didn't have any detergent in my buggy when I left the store. I told him again to have them look the video up. I wasn't sneaking around. I picked up boxes which were empty, I bought my wife's medication, and I tried to show my receipt, while pushing the buggy. I didn't put the buggy anywhere and come back for it - I walked out with the medicine, the boxes and my receipt and attempted to show the receipt for the medicine. Am I suppose to FORCE the lady at the front door to check my stuff?

    So now I think since walmart messed up on the laptop, they are now trying to say I had other merchandise. I think they are in cover our butt mode. I told the Sgt. as much. I told him that we had discussed it and was going to let it go after talking with him last time, but now I didn't know. Maybe we ought to pursue this. This isn't right.

    As a side note --

    I found out from the Sgt. that the security tried to illegally obtain my wife's information from the pharmacy and they wouldn't give it to them (I found out that they have to take a test or something to show they know and understand the laws regarding privacy and the pharmacy). They then called the Sgt. and asked him to get it illegally, they said since you are the police you can get it. He told told them that he can't it's against the law. He would have to get a subpoena (which he then did, imo, based on this faulty evidence).

    I also found out that what they are doing to me is beyond what the company policies say they should have done and how they should have acted according to the company policy of AP-09.

    I also, while being questioned at the police dept found out that the car I was driving was my black car and not my wife's van, so in order for the police to question my wife about her van and it's "use in a theft days ago" was an outright lie made by security. I assume they saw us in her van and called that in since my wife's van was no where near walmart during the crime they said I did. Wouldn't that be making a false statement to the police? Having my wife's van information ran to obtain information about her, in regards to being used in a theft that it wasn't? My car I get into is shown on video.

    I dunno. I have no idea what to do. I don't know what's going to come out of this. Thanks for the replies and help.

    -me

  10. #10
    jacksgal's Avatar
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    Drop it and shop elsewhere as advised. Yes you werew wronged but why put yourself through even more. If you want to do something contact Walmart corporate
    For non legal parenting help go to www.parentnook.com

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  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by jacksgal View Post
    The Manager is under no obligation to discuss this with OP. In fact he/she would be stupid to do so
    Well, my wife had gone up there (the day after we were called to the police dept.) to ask why she was being investigated in this manner since she wasn't there, it wasn't her vehicle and so forth. The manager at the time (assistant) told her he didn't have to tell her anything and to shop elsewhere, that they didn't want her kind in the store.

    So, I went up there that evening and spoke to him and told him I didn't appreciate how he spoke to my wife and how he treated her, he made a spectacle out of her (speaking loud enough to where people were stopping and watching, she left the store crying). I told him that neither us had done anything wrong and you were treating her like a criminal telling her that you guys didn't want her kind here anyway (insinuating that she was a thief). I told him that his security guys messed up, not me and not my wife. The police has cleared me on the false accusations they leveled against me. I asked him for the district managers name and number and he gave it to me and told me to talk to whoever I wanted to. I told him that what they were doing to us isn't right and he said with a SMILE, "sir, I don't care who you talk to". I told him that he wouldn't have spoken to a lady like the way he did if her husband was standing next to her. He said, "yeah, what do you mean by that". I simply restated it and said that he wouldn't be treating this like a joke and then I left.

    I called the district office and had to leave a message. No one has called back yet.

    I just think that walmart is handling this very wrong. Neither of us did anything wrong or criminal. I can't seem to stop thinking about it because I don't know what's next, what are they going to say now. You know? This last week has shown that they are trying to still push it and make something out of nothing. And to top it off, walmart doesn't see anything wrong with it!?
    Makes me wonder how many others they have done this to.

    You know, walmart (their security and that manager) has stressed us out and now we keep thinking they are going to try something and for what? Nothing. And now, our family is stressed and those guys and that company are free to go about their business like usual. Just isn't right. It's like harassment or something, I dunno. I wouldn't even know what to say to a lawyer about this (even if I wanted to get one). Just isn't right they can treat people like this who haven't done anything.

    -me

  13. #12
    TheLaw Supreme Court Justice Learned Colleague

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    You seem bothered enough that you should try to have a consultation with an area lawyer about the event.

    You can try consulting a criminal defense attorney first, as they may know of cases where they represented a client that later sued the store. . .

    Most will consult for free.

    Then you can put the matter to rest.

  14. #13
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    You can certainly talk to a Lawyer if you do Walmart will no longer talk to you about issue. Furthermore what are your damages? I get it your mad and hurt but what are your damages thats all you can expect to get! The only one to make money on that will be Lawyer. By the way expect that process to take one year at least! Personally your best action is to talk to Walmart's corporate office even then they are not obligated to take action. If they do expect a gift card and nothing else
    For non legal parenting help go to www.parentnook.com

  15. #14
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    I'm sure there could be some damages in the way of emotional distress, etc. A lawyer could figure that part out.

    Actually, though, this might be a good time to call the local TV news.

  16. #15

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    Damages, I don't know. I know that I have to double myself to sleep at night with prescription medicine. I know that my wife is worried sick and that the medicine she takes for anxiety isn't working. I know that we can't go into walmart without thinking we are being watched. I know that we are constantly thinking that walmart is going to try something to get us arrested.

    Damages. I don't know. I know what they have done so far is wrong. But, they can do whatever they want to because they are... and we should all sit back and take it.

    They can accuse and try to ARREST people based on what THEY THINK..and those lucky enough NOT to be ARRESTED should smile and say.. "whew" and not give another thought to it --- even though they were ACCUSED. Is this what we've become? "Well gee, at least it wasn't me"???

    They have accused and followed up on an innocent person.. they got the police involved (a permanent record - complaint of theft) regarding this same innocent person. They have caused undue stress to the family, and the question is .... what have they done WRONG????

    THEY did everything wrong. Asa side note, the Market Asset Protection Manager (jodi/jody) called and asked what they could do for me....

    Really? Causing this stress on our family because of security they had in place that was incompetent.... disregard of training, lack of training ..... ok.. gee...

    -me

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