Entries in Walmart (12)


Suspected Shoplifter Dies After Confrontation with Walmart Employees

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(LITHONIA, Ga.) -- A man suspected of shoplifting two DVD players from a Lithonia, Ga., Walmart on Sunday died after an altercation with two store employees and a contract security guard, prompting a police investigation.

The man, whose identity has not been released, exited through the front door of the store at 1:30 a.m. Sunday and was confronted in the parking lot, according to DeKalb County police.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found the employees on top of the middle-aged man, according to a police report obtained by ABC News affiliate WSB-TV.  When an officer bent down to handcuff the suspect, he noticed there was no resistance.

At that point, the officer noticed the suspect was bleeding from the nose and mouth, according to the report.  He was transported to DeKalb Medical-Hillandale Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“This is truly a sad situation.  We don’t know all of the facts right now.  We’re in the process of working with law enforcement to determine all of the facts and cooperating and providing any information we have to assist in the investigation,” Walmart spokesperson Dianna Gee said in a statement issued to ABC News.

Gee said the contract security guard will no longer be providing services to the retailer.  The two store employees have been suspended with pay while Walmart assists police in the investigation.

“Our associates are trained that the safety of our customers and our associates is our first priority,” Gee said.  “No amount of merchandise is worth someone’s life.  Associates are trained to disengage from situations that would put themselves or others at risk.  That being said, this is still an active investigation and we’re working with police to provide any assistance.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Calif. Walmart Employees Strike to Protest Treatment, Working Conditions

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(PICO RIVERA, Calif.) -- Evelin Cruz used to be terrified to speak  up at work. A department manager at Walmart in Pico Rivera, Calif., for the past eight and a half years, Cruz, 41, feared she would lose her job if she spoke up against perceived injustices.

“People were really tired that any time they would speak out against the pay, hours, how much they would work, that management would cut their hours or not give them a schedule,” said Cruz, who is one of thousands of members of Our Walmart, a labor organization backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers that defends Walmart workers’ rights, told ABC News. “The retaliation was just enough.”

On Thursday, about 30 employees from the Pico Rivera store, including Cruz, wielded signs that read “Stand Up, Live Better, Stop Retaliation” and “Stop Trying to Silence Us” and marched outside the store. At the same time, workers at eight other Walmart stores in California also protested working conditions and treatment.

It was the first-ever employee walk-out in the company’s 50 year history, said Dawn Le, a spokeswoman  for Making Change at Walmart, a coalition whose mission is to change the way Walmart conducts business.

“Everyone else has a union,” said Le. “Workers in every other country -- Japan, the U.K., Nicaragua, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina -- have been able to form a union, except the U.S. and Canada. We just don’t understand the double standard Walmart has. How come those in other countries get to have a voice, yet not in the U.S., its home country?”

Walmart spokesman Dan Fogleman disputed Le’s charges, claiming that most employees have “repeatedly rejected unionization. “They seem to recognize that Walmart has some of the best jobs in the retail industry -- good pay, affordable benefits and the chance for advancement,” he said in a telephone interview with ABC News.

Walmart and its practices have made the news a lot lately. In mid-September, warehouse workers in Southern California were on a 15-day strike that included a six-day, 50-mile pilgrimage for safe jobs. Around the same time, hundreds of people marched in Dallas and San Diego, demanding better work conditions.

On Monday, Chicago police dressed in riot gear arrested 17 peaceful protesters blocking the entrance to a warehouse operated by an outside contractor that supplies Walmart stores, in Elwood, Ill. The protestors were there to show support for workers who had been on strike since Sept. 15, the Chicago Sun Times reported.  What’s more, the company faces yet another sex discrimination lawsuit, filed  on behalf of 100,000 women in California and Tennessee.

According to Dan Schlademan, director of Making Change at Walmart, Walmart employees across the U.S. have recently filed more than 20 charges of unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relations Board. "Workers find how Walmart has tried to retaliate by cutting their hours and not scheduling them for certain shifts when they tried to speak out, and they’re tired of it,” he said.

But the $16 billion dollar company sees it differently, arguing that the California rally was simply a “publicity stunt by the UFCW to seek media attention in order to further their political agenda and financial objectives,” said Fogleman.

Cruz, who makes $13.20 an hour -- up from $7.40 when she started -- begs to differ. “We just wanted to be treated like humans, not robots. We do have health insurance, but in most cases, you’re not even making enough to live on, let alone take anyone to the hospital.”

And though she worries about losing her job, she didn’t see another option but to voice  her anger. “We are still worried that they might retaliate,” said Cruz. “We know exactly how they operate. They wait until you feel confident, or put down your guard, and then they come after you one way or another. But that’s how tired we are of what’s going on in the stores.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bomb Threats Rattle Walmart Stores in Kansas, Missouri

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(LEAVENWORTH, Kan.) -- Two Walmart stores received bomb threats on Sunday, prompting police to evacuate stores and search for dangerous devices, Kansas police officials said.

The threats in Leavenworth and Lawrence came after at least eight Missouri Walmarts received threats on Friday.

Leavenworth Deputy Police Chief Dan Nicodemus told ABC News that someone called a Walmart in Grand View, Mo., to threaten the Leavenworth location.  Grand View Walmart employees called Leavenworth police at 4:27 a.m. on Sunday, he said.

"It's not how it typically happens, but nonetheless the threat is the same," Nicodemus said.

Walmart spokesman Dan Fogleman released a statement to ABC News regarding the threats.

"We're concerned anytime someone makes a threat that might endanger our customers and associates," he said.  "We're grateful no one was injured.  We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience.  We want to make sure everyone stays safe."

He said the company would also be working with law enforcement to find the person responsible for the threats.

ABC17 in Columbia, Mo., reported on Friday that Walmarts in Jefferson City, Nixa, Ozark, Raytown, Gladstone and Fredericktown were shut down due to bomb threats.

In all, eight Missouri Walmarts were threatened, according to KMBC-TV, ABC's Kansas City, Mo., affiliate.

Fredricktown Police Chief Eric Hovis told ABC17 he thinks the Friday threats are related.

The Fredricktown threat came into the Walmart there at 6:45 p.m., he said.

"It was an automated call, and the voice said, 'There's a bomb in the building.  You have two hours to get everybody out this store.  This is not a joke,'" he said.

Officers did not find bombs in any of the threatened stores.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


5 Kids in Protective Custody After 2 Found Bound in Walmart Parking Lot

Douglas County Sheriff's Office(LAWRENCE, Kan.) -- Five Kansas children are in protective custody after the two youngest were found bound and blindfolded in a far corner of a Walmart parking lot.

The family appeared to have been temporarily living in the vehicle where the windows had been covered with clothing and cardboard. In addition to the tied-up children, police discovered three other children inside the car. The parents have been arrested for child abuse and endangerment.

Authorities are investigating the mysterious circumstances around the strange discovery.

On Wednesday, police in Lawrence, Kan., responded to a Walmart after a caller reported seeing what appeared to be a young child bound and blindfolded outside of a car.

Police found two children, ages 5 and 7, bound outside of the car.

"Their legs were bound, their arms were bound behind their backs and they were wearing, at the minimum, blindfolds," Lawrence police Sgt. Trent McKinley told ABC News Thursday.

McKinley did not know if the children's mouths were covered.

The officer spotted an adult male, now identified as Adolfo Gomez, in the vicinity of the car and tried to make contact with him. Gomez, 52, resisted the officer's contact and when the officer tried to detain him, the man suddenly tried to get back in the vehicle.

Officers deployed a Taser to subdue Gomez and take him into custody.

The police then located three other children, ages 12, 13 and 15. McKinley could not comment on what police have discovered from speaking to the children.

Authorities then learned that a woman, believed to be the children's mother, was shopping inside of the Walmart. Deborah Gomez, 43, was located inside the store and taken into custody.

The family said they were traveling from their home in Northlake, Ill., to visit relatives in Arizona. Their vehicle apparently experienced mechanical problems on Monday night, which forced them to stop at the Walmart.

Police believe the family stayed in the Walmart parking lot between Monday and the arrests on Wednesday morning.

In terms of whether it appeared that the family had been living in the car, McKinley said, "Certainly, at least on a temporary basis. We don't have any information that indicated that they spent the night at a hotel."

Walmart is cooperating with police and sharing surveillance footage from the parking lot, though McKinley said the car was parked at the fringe of security camera range.

The couple was expected to make their first court appearance on Thursday afternoon.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Police Still Interviewing Witnesses in Shopping Rage Incident

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Police are reportedly still undecided about whether they will press charges against the Black Friday shopper who doused 20 people in pepper spray at a Los Angeles Walmart.

The woman was released pending further investigation as authorities decide whether they will file charges, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

The woman, who has only been identified as a Latina in her 30s, turned herself in around 8:30 p.m. Friday. She was released pending further investigation.

"There are a lot of victims and witnesses that need to be interviewed to determine what the appropriate actions are," Officer Bruce Borihanh told ABC News.

The woman became notorious during the Black Friday frenzy when she allegedly used pepper spray on shoppers in different areas of a Walmart store Thursday night to gain quick access to the deals on her list.

The store had brought out a crate of discounted Xbox video game players, and a crowd had formed to wait for the crate to be opened. The woman began pepper spraying shoppers in order to get closer to the crate, according to Police Sgt. Jose Valle.

Shopper John Lopez wasn't hit, but compared the scene to a riot.

"[The victims'] faces were red," he told ABC News Radio. "This one guy was coming up to my wife going, 'Call an ambulance! Call an ambulance!'"

During the melee, the woman was able to pay for her purchases and slip away before police arrived, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Black Friday Violence Casts Dark Cloud Over Holiday Shopping

Comstock/Thinkstock(SAN LEANDRO, Calif.) -- A string of Black Friday violence, including a shooting outside a Walmart and pepper-sprayed shoppers, swept the country during the early hours of the morning.

Police said a man was shot in the parking lot of a San Leandro, Calif., Walmart around 1:50 a.m., after he refused to give up his purchases to a group of thieves.

“It looks like these guys were looking for a crime of opportunity,” Sgt. Mike Sobek of the San Leandro Police Department told ABC News.

The victim, whom police refused to identify, was shopping with his family, who managed to hold down one suspect until police arrived. The others fled, but Sobek said the police were still reviewing surveillance footage for clues.

In Los Angeles, one woman proved some people would do anything for a good deal.

Twenty people suffered minor injuries after the woman doused the eyes of shoppers with pepper spray at a Walmart in the Porter Ranch area of Los Angeles shortly after 10:20 p.m.

Elsewhere, two men fought over jewelry deals at a Walmart in Kissimmee, Fla.

Police arrived at the store shortly after 1 a.m. to defuse the fight. One man was arrested when he resisted as officers tried to escort him out of the store.

In another Walmart-centric act of rage, Tonia Robbins, 55, was shot in the foot while thieves stole her purse outside a Myrtle Beach,  S.C.,  store shortly after 1 a.m.

The suspects fled after Ann Robbins, 58, pulled out a revolver and fired three warning shots into the air, the police report stated.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Calif. Woman Pepper Sprays Shoppers to "Gain Preferred Access"

GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Twenty people, including children, were pepper sprayed Thursday night just minutes after a Walmart in Porter Ranch opened its doors to eager Black Friday shoppers.

Walmart kicked off its Black Friday sales Thursday night at 10 p.m.

The woman identified as being responsible for the attack is still being sought by police, according to the Los Angeles Times. Authorities told the Times the woman used the spray to "to gain preferred access to a variety of locations in the store." Los Angeles Fire Capt. James Carson said "she was competitive shopping."

Shopper John Lopez wasn’t hit, but compared the scene to a riot.

“[The victims'] faces were red,” he told ABC News Radio. “This one guy was coming up to my wife going, ‘Call an ambulance! Call an ambulance!’”

During the melee, the woman was able to pay for her purchases and slip away before police arrived, the Times reported.

Several shoppers reported minor injuries, including sore throats and skin and eye irritations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bleach Fight Shuts Down Walmart in Baltimore

Baltimore County Police Department (BALTIMORE) -- A Saturday morning of shopping turned into an emergency hazmat situation at a Baltimore Walmart where two patrons threw bleach and disinfectant at one another, officials said.

Baltimore County Police responded to a call at about 10:48 a.m. Saturday and found two women fighting -- supposedly over a guy -- inside the store.

The bleach and disinfectant created toxic fumes, forcing the immediate evacuation of the entire Arbutus store, officials told ABC News affiliate ABC 2.  It closed for several hours.

Fire, EMS and hazardous materials units were dispatched to the scene, as well as 10 medics.

Nineteen people reportedly received treatment, including three Walmart employees. One person was taken to the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins Hospital for treatment, officials said.

Three Walmart employees were being treated for respiratory problems, a Walmart spokeswoman told ABC News.

According to Baltimore County police, 33-year-old Theresa Monique Jefferson chased a woman into the Walmart, knocked her to the ground and began pouring bleach and ammonia on her. Most likely unknown to the attacker, the combination of the two common household chemicals forms a toxic gas.

Jefferson was arrested and charged with first-and second-degree assault, theft under $100 and malicious destruction of property.  She is being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center on $350,000 bail.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Florida Family of Five Found Living in 'Filthy' Car Outside Walmart

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(MOUNT DORA, Fla.) -- Three children -- one suffering from second-degree burns -- were taken into protective custody Monday after they were discovered living with their parents in a "filthy" car in a Walmart parking lot.

Police were called to the parking lot Monday morning in Mount Dora, Fla., where they found the family of five living in a 1987 Cadillac Coupe de Ville full of clothes and garbage. Police told the Orlando Sentinel that days-old chicken bones were strewn about the car, along with a spoiled carton of milk and a bottle of tequila.

The illegal prescription drug clonazepam was also found in the car, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

The parents, Justin Hamilton, 31, and Kristin Harris, 26, were booked into Lake County Jail on charges of child neglect and possession of an illegal prescription drug.

The oldest child, a 7-year-old girl, was treated at the hospital for blistering second-degree burns covering her entire back, said Carrie Hoeppner, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Children and Families.

The two boys, ages 4 and 1, were initially released to relatives before they were taken into protective custody. The 7-year-old was released from the hospital and into custody with her brothers.

"We hate to break families up, but there is a difference between living in poverty and squalor and filth," Hoeppner said. "And if you look at the pictures, that is obviously the case."

Hamilton, who, along with Harris, denied ABC News' request for a jailhouse interview, did tell the Sentinel from behind bars that it was all a misunderstanding.

He said the family had been evicted from their apartment and, after a dispute with relatives, had been forced to stay the night in their car. The father of three said the family had simply fallen on hard times.

He said his business had slowed down, he was behind on medical bills from a motorcycle accident earlier this year and that he was trying to make ends meet by doing odd jobs and day labor.

"I didn't know where else to go," Hamilton told the Sentinel. "I'm trying."

He said his daughter's severe second-degree burns were sustained during a day of paddle boating on a local lake and added that the family's physician had examined the burns and provided the girl with aloe lotions.

Hamilton has a previous conviction for cocaine and marijuana possession in 2010, according to court records, which also show Harris has a previous conviction for shoplifting groceries and marijuana possession.

Hamilton is being held on a $10,250 bond, while Harris' bail was set at $10,000.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Two Dead, Two Deputies Wounded After Walmart Shooting

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PORT ORCHARD, Wash.) -- Two people are dead and two sheriff's deputies are seriously injured following a shootout in front of a Walmart in Washington state Sunday afternoon.

Officials told ABC News affiliate KOMO-TV that they went to the store in Port Orchard around 3:45 p.m. after they received a call reporting a suspicious person.  When deputies arrived at the scene, the suspect began to flee before turning around and firing at them in the store's parking lot.  Deputies fired back at the gunman and shot him dead.

A young woman, who sustained gunshot wounds at the scene, also died later at Tacoma General Hospital.  She has not yet been identified, but authorities believe she may have known the gunman.

"We believe that there is a connection between this young woman and gunman," Scott Wilson of the Kitsap County Sheriff's Office said.  "We just have not been able to establish what that connection is right now."

Two deputies injured in the shooting were also taken to Tacoma General, where they are listed in serious condition with non-life threatening wounds.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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