Many PD plans to post pics of EBT glitch theft suspects online - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Many PD plans to post pics of EBT glitch theft suspects online

Posted: Updated: Oct 22, 2013 03:57 AM
This image was posted on the Many Police Department's Facebook page on Monday, with an update saying they are awaiting "enhanced photos of the suspects" in the thefts that took place on Saturday, October 12 at the Many Walmart. This image was posted on the Many Police Department's Facebook page on Monday, with an update saying they are awaiting "enhanced photos of the suspects" in the thefts that took place on Saturday, October 12 at the Many Walmart.
Cell phone video from inside the Springhill, LA Walmart on Oct. 12 showed crowds loading up on carts full of food. Cell phone video from inside the Springhill, LA Walmart on Oct. 12 showed crowds loading up on carts full of food.
A photo taken by a customer inside the Springhill Walmart store after the shopping frenzy October 12 shows carts overflowing with food, reportedly left abandoned after balances started showing up again on customers' EBT cards. A photo taken by a customer inside the Springhill Walmart store after the shopping frenzy October 12 shows carts overflowing with food, reportedly left abandoned after balances started showing up again on customers' EBT cards.
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MANY, LA (KSLA) -

Walmart shoppers in Many who may have taken advantage of last week's EBT glitch might soon find their faces posted online.

In addition to the mega-retailer's Springhill and Mansfield locations in Louisiana, the store in Many saw customers filling up carts with goods paid for on EBT cards that weren't showing limits. The glitch only lasted for about 2 hours on the night of October 12, but it was long enough to create chaos in stores that opted not to set an emergency limit for the EBT SNAP card holders.

According to the Many Police Department Facebook Page, "The MPD is still very active in the investigation of thefts that took place on Saturday October 12th at Wal-Mart involving losses because of malfunctioning EBT Card transactions and other thefts where customers simply left the store without paying for items."

According to retired police chief Dean Lambert, who runs the Many Police Department Facebook page, officers were called to the store around 8 p.m. on that night, after an assistant store manager reported that people were attempting to leave the store without paying for groceries when the EBT system would not work. At least one man reportedly made it out of the store without paying for a cart full of groceries, exiting through the garden department. He has not yet been identified.

Just as in Springhill and Mansfield, officers reported finding carts full of food abandoned in the aisles when they arrived. While that in itself is not a crime, leaving the store with goods without paying is. Those who loaded up on temporarily unlimited SNAP cards could face charges might be more difficult to prosecute, because the intent to defraud would have to be proven. Since the store allowed purchases on the EBT without setting a limit during the glitch, that could prove difficult.

In a post early Monday afternoon the administrator of the police department's page said, "We hope to have photos of many of these shoppers on our webpage before the end of the week so they can be identified."

Some shoppers have reportedly made restitution already, and their photos will not be displayed. But for those that haven't, it appears the Many Police Department is planning to move forward with attempting to identify those that have not come forward on their own. "We are working closely with Wal-Mart and are awaiting enhanced photos of the suspects."

Lambert says the surveillance footage from the store will be carefully reviewed, and only photos of those who can clearly be seen leaving the store without paying would be posted.

Those pictures could be posted as early as Thursday.

KSLA News 12 has requested information from Walmart in regard to how the glitch was handled and reports that teams were sent to local stores to investigate, but follow-up calls the company's corporate offices in Bentonville, AR have not been returned.

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