Women: Walmart security accused them of fake receipt, held them against their will
LIVONIA, Mich. (WJBK) - Two women say they were held against their will at a Livonia Walmart store.
Employees accused them of shoplifting even though they had proof, they did not. They had a receipt - but apparently that wasn't good enough.
The women say they were detained and harassed for hours.
"I felt like we were being harassed, I knew it was wrong," said April Phelps.
April Phelps is the one who recorded cell phone video, showing tense moments involving Walmart employees.
It all happened a couple of weeks ago when her sister Shanina Ellis bought a coffee maker for their mother at the Walmart on Seven Mile in Livonia.
As they were leaving, they were approached by a plain clothed employee.
"'(He asked) if can he see my receipt,'" Ellis said. "I said no. I didn't know he was loss prevention. He said 'I need to verify your proof of purchase.' I said oh you thought I stole this, I showed him the proof of purchase. He opened up the box, looked at the sku numbers, looked at the bottom of the coffee maker and said 'Okay, leave.'"
But that wasn't the end of it as the two sisters went to walk out of the store another employee approached them, accusing them of stealing the coffee maker.
"We said we have been verified at this point we want refund, this is a really big hassle," Ellis said.
Instead of a refund, the women were hauled into a back room where they claim employees employees accused them of creating a fake receipt. And then called Livonia police.
"'You are going to jail for third degree retail fraud,' he said, 'people make fake receipts all the time,'" Ellis said. "I was just in shock."
Both women claim they were forced to sit in a back room and be interrogated for more than two hours. It wasn't until a manager finally rechecked the receipt did they decide to let them go.
But April and Shanina say Livonia police still wanted to run their names to see of they had warrants against them, which they did not. They were finally released.
In response Walmart's Senior Manager Leslee Wright issued this statement:
"We're sorry Ms. Ellis and Ms. Phelps had a bad experience in our store and store management has expressed our apologies to them. We take this situation seriously and we have addressed it with our associates as appropriate."
But for Shanina and April, both business owners, feel their reputations have been tarnished. At the very least, they want the employees involved to lose their jobs.
"It's not okay to do customers like this and come back to work," Phelps said. "This has completely disrupted our life and our business."
The women returned the coffee maker and are considering legal action.