Crimefighting hits a roadblock - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Crimefighting hits a roadblock

A Broken Arrow woman is frustrated that a store has videotape of the couple who stole her purse, but, the store won't voluntarily give that videotape to police so they can crack the case.

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright says Catherine doesn't really like to go out much, but she was recently getting ready for a trip so ran to a south Tulsa Wal-Mart March 29th around 5:30 PM to buy a few things and get some cash. She accidentally left her purse in the shopping cart when she left. "I drove all the way home and thought where is my purse, I always leave it in the front seat. I went right back to the bank cause I didn't know what to do, I was so upset and they called police."

The detective says he called Wal-Mart and asked for the surveillance video, which he says show a woman with a man in a wheelchair take the purse and leave. However, the officer says Wal-Mart told him he can't have the tape without a subpoena. This surprised police because just a month earlier, Wal-Mart willingly gave police a surveillance tape of a couple who used a woman's stolen credit card just minutes after her purse was stolen from a nearby Kinkos.

However, police say Wal-Mart managers got angry when they realized the tape was shown on TV. Even though, both those suspects were identified within minutes of our segment airing. Catherine: "I think Wal-Mart is wrong. If they care about their customers, they'll provide more protection and I think that'd be a part of the protection."

Police say Wal-Mart told them they were worried about an innocent person in the video suing the company. Though, TV stations can blur out anyone's face except the suspect’s. Now, Catherine's fear has increased and she's out all the many important things in her purse. "I had more information in that purse that they could've easily contacted me. I had everything I own in there, even my bottom teeth. I had a lower partial and they'd come loose."

The store manager of the Wal-Mart at 81st and Lewis where this incident happened, told the News on 6, these decisions are made by corporate bosses, not individual stores. He said if corporate gave him authorization, he would give us the videotape.

Corporate told Lori Fullbright, they did allow police to review the tape, but because of privacy concerns for their customers and employees, their policy is to require a subpoena. They could not explain why that policy has not always been enforced in Tulsa, but is now.
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