Thunder Bay

Aroland First Nation woman wrongly accused of shoplifting at Thunder Bay Walmart

A woman from Aroland First Nation says she was wrongfully accused of shoplifting at a Walmart in Thunder Bay.

Donna Wesley-Gagnon spent $300 at Thunder Bay Walmart, promptly accused of wearing jacket off rack

Donna Wesley-Gagnon says an employee of Walmart in Thunder Bay stopped her just outside the entrance, and accused her of taking the jacket she was wearing from the rack. (The Associated Press)

A woman from Aroland First Nation, Ont., says she was wrongfully accused of shoplifting at a Walmart in Thunder Bay.

Donna Wesley-Gagnon says she was shopping with her husband and three grandchildren at the big box store in October and noticed store employees were closely watching and even following them.

Wesley-Gagnon said after spending $300 on clothes and food, security stopped her just outside the entrance. She said she was accused of taking the jacket she was wearing from the rack and wearing it out the door. The security guard held up another, older jacket and accused her of swapping it for the jacket she was wearing.

"He says, 'Excuse me ma'am, we saw you exchange that jacket you're wearing,' and I was in shock," Wesley-Gagnon said. "Like I was saying 'Is this a joke?'"

Jacket had tag from different store

Wesley-Gagnon said security refused to believe her, even though she said she bought the jacket months ago at a different retail store. It even had a Warehouse One tag on it, she said.

She asked to speak to the manager and received an apology, then returned everything she bought from the store and received a refund.

"I was terribly upset," said Wesley-Gagnon.

In an e-mailed statement, Walmart said "out of respect for our customers, we do not share specific details about their visits to our stores."

But the Walmart spokesperson wrote that the company is "committed to an environment free of discrimination for our associates, customers, members, and suppliers. This includes zero tolerance for discrimination on the basis of an individual's race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, or any other status protected by law or local policy."

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said Donna Wesley-Gagnon was from Lake Helen First Nation. In fact, she is from Aroland First Nation.
    Nov 03, 2015 10:52 AM ET

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