Store apologies to 7-year-old accused of shoplifting

The Canadian Press
Monday January 02, 2017
Written by The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — A seven-year-old girl has received an apology after an aggressive security guard accused her of shoplifting over the Christmas season.

Little Chloe Stewart says she was humiliated when she was accused of stealing a key chain at an Ardene store in Winnipeg.

She says she told the guard she hadn't taken anything but he made her empty her pockets in public — and there was nothing inside. The security company hired by Ardene admits the situation wasn't handled correctly and has since apologized to the family.

Neptune Security sent the family an email saying the guard in question has been removed from the store and reassigned to sites not in the public. The costume jewelry store says it sincerely regrets the incident and wants to assure its customers it wasn't reflective of their policy.

“It was embarrassing, my daughter was almost in tears,” says Sarah Meeches, Chloe's mom.

Josh Rogala, a Winnipeg criminal defence lawyer, says whether they are guilty or not, children should never be confronted out in the open. “It really should be something that the law prevention officer deals with by approaching the parent, talking with the parent and having the parent talk with their child,” he says.

Rogala says that under the Criminal Code of Canada, a person cannot be accused of stealing before actually leaving the store with an item they didn't purchase. “Just because someone has an object in their possession, in their pockets, and they are wandering around in the store, doesn't mean they had intention in committing a theft,” he says.

Chloe's father, Brett Stewart, says the family is happy to receive an apology. “We didn't feel welcome in the store and it's something I just hope never happens to her ever again,” he says.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016

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