Thousands on social media are questioning how two WinCo Foods supermarket loss prevention employees handled a teen girl who was caught stealing candy in Vancouver, Washington.
A video posted to Facebook with more than 12 million views shows the two members of the loss prevention staff trying to bring the 15-year-old girl back into the store on Saturday afternoon.
In the video, posted July 8, a woman can be heard saying, “You are hurting her … you guys are not cops” as the teen attempts to resist the loss prevention staff.
A woman who witnessed the whole ordeal spoke to KOIN. She is outraged by the way the staff handled the incident.
“I get stealing is wrong. I teach my children the same thing,” the woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said. “My daughter was there. She asked me, ‘Why are they doing this to her?’ I said, ‘She stole.’ But the fact of it is, people like this are taking advantage of that badge and going to the extreme, and they shouldn’t have done it.”
As the video goes on, the teen admits to stealing a candy bar. Shortly after the girl was brought back into the store, police arrived and arrested her. The teen was charged with second-degree robbery.
Vancouver police released a statement saying, “Based on interviews with multiple witnesses who were crowding around the detention by the loss prevention staff, none were able to describe any assaultive behavior on the part of the loss prevention staff and the video shows the suspect continuing to resist being handcuffed and detained.”
“We appreciate the public’s concern over this incident and would like to provide information about what took place, as well as our ongoing investigation,” the supermarket said in a statement. “WinCo Foods began to investigate immediately after the incident took place. While in our store, the individual concealed items and left the store without paying. The individual was then approached by WinCo Foods’ loss prevention employees, who identified themselves as such. As our employees questioned the individual, she attempted to flee and was detained by WinCo’s loss prevention. At this point, the individual initiated contact by physically attacking multiple employees. All of this occurred immediately before the footage started in the video posted on social media.
“We are continuing to investigate the situation and cooperating fully with local law enforcement, and are unable to provide any further details at this time.”
Photo Credit: amoredepot