According to Boston 25 News, Sherell Bates now regrets leaving her house on Friday to go back-to-school shopping, given the treatment she was subjected to.
The mom of two, who is weeks away from giving birth to twins, is outraged and humiliated after she says she was accused of trying to steal items under her shirt at her local Staples.
She was in the middle of checking with her back-to-school items when she was approached by an officer.
“Mid-transaction, a police officer approached me and insisted he wanted to speak with me,” Bates told Boston 25 News. “He asked what was under my shirt.”
“Initially, I thought he was joking, so my response was, ‘Twins,’” she added. “I’m 34 weeks with twins. I’m having a boy and a girl.”
However, the officer asked again.
This time she actually lifted her shirt just enough to expose a little bit of her belly to show him that she was, “just a regular pregnant person buying school supplies,” reports Boston 25 News.
The officer reportedly told Bates that the manager thought she may have been, “concealing merchandise,” according to Boston 25 News.
Bates then decided to talk to the manager.
“When I confronted her about what happened, she admitted that, ‘In the past, we’ve had a lot of people putting school supplies or merchandise in their clothes and hiding, so I asked the officer to reach out to you,’” Bates said.
She is now planning to contact Staples’ corporate office and is considering legal action.
“You pretty much jumped the gun without any type of evidence, except my stomach is large,” Bates said. “That’s not fair. No mom should have to go through that.”
Staples released a statement regarding the incident:
Yesterday at our Pineville location, while a customer was shopping, a manager mistakenly thought they were possibly shoplifting and asked a police officer that happened to be in the store to talk with the customer.
After a quick conversation, the issue was resolved, the manager apologized to the customer and refunded their transaction due to the inconvenience. At Staples, we want all customers to feel welcome in our store, and work with our store associates to try and foster an inclusive culture. As an organization, we would like to apologize to the customer if that was not the case in this instance.
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