Walmart shopper banned for stealing sues store and manager
Titusville police officer: 'I don't think she was stealing'
TITUSVILLE, Fla. – Robin Marsh will be the first to tell you she walked into her neighborhood Walmart with
a shopping bag every week, but last June she was “trespassed indefinitely” by store management, banned from the store because management suspected her of shoplifting.
“I was dumbfounded,” Marsh said. "I couldn’t understand where it was coming from.”
The Titusville hairdresser said she had been following that weekly routine at the Walmart on Cheney Highway in Titusville for eight months and had no idea the store suspected her of stealing.
Titusville attorney Daniel Faherty said once he reviewed the facts he decided to “take the case right then and there.”
On June 13, 2018, Titusville police were called to the grocery store by Walmart co-manager George Huff.
The call to police dispatch, obtained exclusively by News 6, suggests Huff had suspected Marsh of stealing for months.
“We’ve seen her in here before usually in the early morning hours,” Huff said.
The body camera video seems to temper Huff’s suspicions, when a female officer tells Marsh: "He’s just never been able to see you steal the actual items, so he’s never called us…”
When police inspected the store receipt the day Marsh was detained, police immediately confirmed her receipt and the contents in her black and white tote bag matched.
Faherty filed a formal lawsuit against Walmart and Huff on March 13, alleging emotional distress, defamation and negligence in reporting “a shoplifting in progress which was not occurring.”
Veteran Orlando criminal attorney Mark O’Mara reviewed the body cam video and said while police were respectful and played it by the book, store management made a mistake.
“I know shoplifting happens at Walmart, but this wasn’t even a close call," O’Mara said. “It was an overreaction and somebody should apologize.”
As Marsh is seen walking away from police, one of the officers tells her partner, “I don’t think she was stealing.”
In 2016, Reuters reported theft cost the retail giant $3 billion every year, 1 percent of the company’s $300 billion in revenue.
Requests for the store’s security video by both Marsh’s attorneys and News 6 were declined.
A spokesperson for Walmart’s corporate office issued this statement: “We want all of our customers to have a pleasant experience in our stores. We are looking into the allegations, and take this matter seriously, we will respond as appropriate with the court.”
When asked why Walmart didn’t drop the trespass charge against Marsh when it became clear she was not stealing, Faherty said: “These are the questions we have and we want answered.”
The discovery process just started last week, Faherty has requested a jury trial.
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