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Police: Teen resists loss prevention staff, video provokes criticism

Child stopped by loss prevention at Vancouver area Winco - Image courtesy Kristin Nerton

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KATU)– A teenage girl was booked in the Juvenile Detention Hall in Vancouver, Washington, this week, accused of trying to steal candy from a WinCo store.

A video posted to Facebook on Saturday shows loss prevention staff detain the girl as she attempts to flee the store. Many people argue that the staff was too rough with the girl.

However, a Vancouver police report said no witnesses saw loss prevention use any “assaultive [six] behavior on the girl that would be considered excessive force.”

The girl’s mother, Jackie VanDuker, says she understands what her daughter did was wrong, but the way it was handled was excessive.

“It was all wrong. She did steal and that's wrong, she needs to be held accountable for that candy bar, but the way they handled it was all wrong,” VanDuker said.

After seeing the video and how the loss prevention employees handled her daughter, VanDuker says the employees need to be re-trained.

The video shows the girl struggle as she continues to resist being restrained by the employees. VanDuker says her daughter is young and was scared when two employees came after her.

Police said the only injuries the girl sustained were a scraped knee and elbow.

“There should be consequences for them, for treating a 14-year-old like that,” VanDuker said.

The girl was booked into the Juvenile Detention Hall for second-degree robbery, a felony.

“I just know how hard it is going to be with a felony, and over a candy bar? It’s stupid," her mom said.

Vancouver Police say the charge was upped to felony robbery because the girl resisted and employees sustained minor injuries.

A representative with WinCo sent the following statement to KATU News:

Thank you so much for contacting us regarding the video that was published on social media. We appreciate the public’s concern over this incident and would like to provide information about what took place, as well as our ongoing investigation. WinCo Foods began to investigate immediately after the incident took place. While in our store, the individual concealed items and left the store without paying. The individual was then approached by WinCo Foods’ loss prevention employees, who identified themselves as such. As our employees questioned the individual, she attempted to flee and was detained by WinCo’s loss prevention. At this point, the individual initiated contact by physically attacking multiple employees. All of this occurred immediately before the footage started in the video posted on social media.

WinCo Foods immediately called the Vancouver Police Department, who responded quickly, and subsequently Vancouver Police Department arrested the individual for robbery. The video concludes with the officer arriving onsite.

We understand that the media, our customers, and the general public are interested and concerned about the situation. We are continuing to investigate the situation and cooperating fully with local law enforcement, and are unable to provide any further details at this time. As we continue our investigation, we want to thank everyone for allowing us a chance to explain the full details of what happened – including key pieces of information not shown in the video. Thank you.

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