VANCOUVER, Wash. — A video of a physical confrontation between a 14-year-old female shoplifting suspect and loss prevention staff members at a Vancouver WinCo Foods supermarket has gone viral.
Kristin Nerton, a witness of the incident, posted the video to Facebook on July 8. It has since attracted six million views, 42,000 comments, 38,000 shares and 16,000 reactions.
Warning: Graphic language
The suspect is accused of stealing candy from the store, located at 905 Northeast 136th Avenue in Vancouver. She was booked into the Clark County Juvenile Justice Center for second-degree robbery and appeared in court Monday. She will be arraigned Wednesday, according to a report in The Columbian.
Vancouver police said multiple witnesses told officers they thought the loss prevention staff was rough with the suspect but didn’t believe the behavior rose to the level of assault. The suspect resisted being handcuffed and detained, and suffered a scraped knee and elbow during the scuffle.
Members of the loss prevention staff suffered minor injuries, police said.
WinCo Foods released a statement saying the suspect “physically [attacked] multiple employees” before the video started that was later posted on Facebook. WinCo said it is continuing to investigate and is cooperating with local police.
The full text of the statement from WinCo Foods is below:
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.