Mom: Wal-Mart did nothing to stop harassment

File photo: Wal-Mart store exterior

May 11, 2010 6:54:33 AM PDT
A Wal-Mart customer is raising concerns about the store's security. She says the store on Thompsons Highway in Richmond is not doing enough to protect her or other customers.

The woman in this story says she was a victim of up-skirting. A man, she says, tried to take a picture up her skirt inside a Richmond Wal-Mart. When she went for help, she says the world's largest retailer failed her.

Ask most customers and convenience is at the top of the list for why they choose Wal-Mart.

"One-stop shopping," said the woman, who ABC13 isn't identifying because she fears for her life. "Get there, and get what you need and get home."

But now this Needville woman is questioning whether her concerns for safety outweigh that convenience.

"I have told everyone to watch out for themselves," said the woman.

Last Thursday, as she was shopping with her two-year-old daughter at the Richmond, Texas location on FM 1640, she noticed someone lurking.

"Every time I looked up, it was the same gentleman," she said.

At first, she thought it was a coincidence but then she caught him kneeling down, two feet away, cell phone in hand.

"I had on a skirt, so it clicked to me that he was trying to take a picture up my skirt," she said.

Feeling victimized, she says she reported it to a manager, who she says told her he would take care of it. She thought that meant police would be close behind.

"I wanted him to be caught, and I thought when I reported it to Wal-Mart, that was going to happen," she said.

Instead, the man continued to wander the store, she says, and by the time she realized she had to call police herself, he was long gone.

"Police told me had they been called, they would have been able to go to him, take his phone and look to see what was on the phone," she said.

Wal-Mart wouldn't answer specific questions.

Instead, we got a statement from a representative of the Wal-Mart Corporate Communications.

"This is an unfortunate incident, and we're looking into the situation to determine exactly what happened. We are working with police in their investigation."

Meanwhile, the mother has learned a lesson.

"You get the impression they're there for your safety, and really, they're not," she said.

If there is a next time, she'll call police herself. Now she worries about the man who's free to stalk others.

"He's dangerous," she said. "He's definitely a predator."

A couple of police officers ABC13 spoke with echoed the woman's concerns. They suggest you always call police first if you think you're a victim of crime.

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