AAFES Building 2420 Fort Sam Houston Accused of shoplifting and arrested. $200 fine. San Antonio Texas
*Consumer Comment: AAFES shoplifting
*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Exchange Detective's
Yesterday I took my wife, mother-in-law, and newborn onto post (Fort Sam Houston) with the objective of purchasing a new laptop to aid in my mother-in-law's new business. This was also my first "family outing" as our first child in one month old now.
My wife and I have been taxed for sleep due to the new baby. Upon entering the store my wife grabbed a can of Red Bull and Slim Jim to sustain her until we went out for lunch. This is a practice we regularly practice at other stores like Wal Mart and HEB without it ever being an issue. This was done in front of store employees who did not say anything about her actions. She was not told this was against store policy or asked to pay for the two items first.
We spent some time looking at new Apple Macbooks and finally made a decision. During this process my wife left us with the stroller and went to get a coffee at the food court returning to us shortly later. We purchased the computer inside the store at the electronics counter. I told the employee I would be doing some more shopping and he said it was ok. We walked around for some time looking in different departments. My wife and I got into a little verbal argument by the dressing rooms which prompted me to walk out to the food court to decompress and have a slice of pizza. Upon leaving the 'shopping area" there was an employee standing there. I stopped and politely asked if she wanted to see the receipt for the computer inside my bag. She said no.
My wife followed about a minute behind upset. She left the stroller with me and began to look for her mother. At this point she was approached by an all male "Loss Prevention" team and asked to follow them to their upstairs office. I received an emotional confused phone call from my wife saying she was detained by store security for shoplifting. I made my way to the office.
I rang the doorbell and was greeted by a man who immediately began saying that he didn't have to let me inside. I told him I would be calm and just wanted to see my wife. I found her sitting inside the office crying. Confused I demanded and explanation. Which the Loss Prevention Team kept saying they couldn't discuss with me. My wife told me she was in trouble for shoplifting a Red Bull and Slim Jim. I could't believe my ears. I asked what the issue was and said this was clearly a mistake. I was holding $2,250 worth of purchased merchandise and my wife had $200 cash inside her purse. I apologized and said we would pay the $3.50 for the merchandise that my wife had accidentally walked past the registers and the doorway with the employee who again said nothing with.
The agent said that paying for the merchandise was not an option and that he had already contacted Military Police who were on their way. I was floored. I immediately called my chain of command and had two higher ranking individuals come down. The MP's arrived and went into the office which I was not allowed in anymore. My senior supervisors began to talk with the MP's trying to talk some sense into the situation. They spoke on behalf of my wife's character to no avail. I told my wife to say nothing and cooperate, which she did.
The MP's said that since AAFES had contacted them there was nothing they could do. They had no choice in the matter. I again spoke to AAFES LP who said it was up to the MP's to let her go. I called the store manager who said there was nothing they could do. During this entire situation nobody involved had positive control or the ability to make a decision on the matter and repeatedly stated it was the others choice.
The HANDCUFFED my wife's hands behind her back and walked her out balling crying through the store and out front and put her in the back of the Police car like a hardened criminal. All in front of our small military community, coworkers, and friends.
They brought her to the Police Station and processed her for shoplifting. It wasn't until she was inside the station being processed that she had her Miranda Rights read after she asked. I had to wait and then sign paperwork releasing her into my custody. They confiscated her Military Dependent ID card and told us we would have to get another "removing her PX privileges". So until we get a new ID card for her she has no access to post for my new sons medical appointments. We were instructed that we would receive paperwork from AAFES which would be a fine! Apparently now private companies can legally fine people !?
In Summary: My wife was publicly arrested and humiliated amongst peers over $3.50 of merchandise that was clearly mistakenly brought across the "final check out line" and was not checked by the store employee at the door. After buying a couple thousand dollars worth of merchandise mind you; meaning we clearly had the money to pay for the beverage. We were not allowed to pay for the merchandise. My mother-in-law who was still inside shopping fully intended on paying for the merchandise since the days shopping was on her dime. That didn't matter. My wife was treated like a criminal and processed like a criminal. She asked if the handcuffs were necessary and their answer was apparent. My wife and I are both honorable people with no criminal history. I am an honorable combat veteran. None of this was taken into consideration. Now we wait for a $200 fine from a PRIVATE COMPANY. A private company mind you who SUPPORTS THE TROOPS. HA!
This is shameful. My wife and I's reputations have been tarnished by this company.
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