Customer traumatised by St Albans charity shop’s accusations

A PATRON of a St Albans charity shop believes she was the victim of a “witch hunt” after being accused of stealing two items from the store.

Maureen Rooper, of Sandpit Lane, is now boycotting the Children’s Society in The Quadrant, as a result of the incident last month during which she was approached by a policeman.

The 52 year old picked up what she thought was a necklace at the Marshalswick shop but turned out to be a bunch of bracelets which fell on the floor and she put them back.

When she went to pay for her items one of the shop assistants asked her if she had put some of the bracelets in her bag.

She said: “I was shocked; of course I hadn’t put them in my bag.”

She decided not to buy anything and made her way to another shop: “I somehow carried on into Budgens as I needed items for dinner when a policeman tapped me on the shoulder this time, accompanied by the charity shop supervisor.”

The policeman proceeded to tell Maureen that an assistant claimed she saw her put a pair of shoes in her bag without paying for them.

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Maureen said at that stage she was expecting a cameraman to jump out and tell her a friend was playing a practical joke on her, adding: “I didn’t even look at shoes.”

The supervisor accompanying the policeman reportedly stood behind him and didn’t speak: “There was no apology. It felt like a witch hunt. I was in total shock.”

She added: “It was very traumatic, I couldn’t sleep that night.”

“I just can’t believe it. I’ve never been in trouble with the police.

“I’ve never ever had anything like that.”

Maureen said: “I cannot stress the mortification, shock, horror and distress this has caused me.

“I have always supported this shop and my family and myself give our unwanted gifts and goods to this charity all of the time!”

She added: “They think its okay to accuse a person of theft and yet when found innocent do not have the manners or the etiquette to apologise.

“I suggest they get their facts right before accusing an innocent person of theft and wasting police time and ours, the tax-payers, money.”

Patricia Cook, retail support manager for the charity, wrote to Maureen apologising for the incident and the distress it had caused her.

She added that the charity would be investigating the matter fully.

The Children’s Society charity shop in The Quadrant declined to comment.