Tampa, Florida Nov 2 2016-- Imagine shopping at a store paying the cashier and then moments later manhandled as you try to leave. This happened to a Tampa woman walking out of a Walmart.
As 10 Investigates explains how this woman claims she was not only framed - but physically detained over less than $30.
The incident happened two years ago as Vicki Carll was walking out of a Tampa Walmart.
Carll says, ”It was the most humiliating thing you could ever go through.”
As soon as she walked out the door, two men grabbed her, manhandled her and dragged her back into the store.
At the time Carll says she was baffled. “I didn't know what was happening, I thought I was being mugged, actually, because I had $500 in my hand and I didn't know what was going on, I had no idea.”
It turned out Carll was being arrested for shoplifting. The security guard who was waiting on a bench next to the exit said she stole flea medication worth $29.
Carll's attorney, Barry Cohen calls the incident , “Shameful! Shameful!”
Cohen claims this was an elaborate plan by the security guard to frame his client. In a lawsuit filed Monday afternoon, Cohen points out the security tape shows the guard, who just started that day, dumped something on the floor from a box and then seconds later accused Carll of stealing that item.
According to Cohen, a veteran attorney, “I've never seen a case I can think about where the bad guy, in this case the Walmart employee, was actually caught on video planting the evidence.
10Investigates reached out to both Walmart and the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office.
They would just tell 10Investigates they believe the guard, who said he found the medication in Carll's sleeve.
Walmart asked the state to prosecute and a jury found her not guilty in less than a minute.
10Investigates talked to several jurors and one said it seemed obvious the guard planted the evidence and couldn't believe the state wasted time and money with this case.
Walmart issued this statement: "This was an unfortunate event in a number of ways. We know how important it is to maintain a safe and secure environment for our customers and associates, and we continually evaluate and work to strengthen our safety measures. That's why we invest in crime prevention efforts and training aimed at deterring criminal activity in our stores and keeping our customers and associates safe."
When we asked Carll, “What's this done to your life?” She paused, took a deep breath and sighed saying “It's hurt me a whole lot.”
Carll says she has suffered mentally and physically and has filed a lawsuit against the retail giant.
She says he no longer feels safe shopping in stores since the incident.
“I just couldn't believe it happened and I hope it never happens to anyone else.”
The security guard and a manager who grabbed Carll no longer work for Walmart, but the company tells us it's not due to this incident.
Neither was disciplined for the case.
Walmart also told us the men did not violate company policy by physically restraining the woman.