A WOMAN falsely accused of stealing groceries from a Wegman self-checkout has warned shoppers to beware of using the machines.
A warrant for Amber Groome’s arrest was issued after the mother-of-two forgot to scan a few items at the Short Pump, Virginia, store.
She had completed her shop while she was “exhausted” from a 14-hour shift at a hospital caring for Covid patients last year.
The tired customer went to one of the self-checkout machines and began taking the items out of her bags to be scanned.
But while unpacking her groceries, Amber accidentally forgot to empty one of her bags, which was full of bargains.
The unsuspecting mother left the Wegman branch and went home before receiving a horrific knock on the door a few days later.
She explained that the police told her that she had been charged with stealing less than $1,000 after her innocent mistake by committing a petty theft.
Amber, from Louisa County, told NBC12, “When I got to the checkout, I took each bag, like I always do, to take everything out and put it back in the bag, put it in the cart, do the next bag the same way exact way.
“I think I must have forgotten a bag, like a whole bag. It wasn’t like expensive stuff. As if there were vitamins and such in it.
“But then they were like $1 or $2 Pringles pretzel sticks. And they didn’t stop me at the door.”
She was stunned after being charged with the supermarket sin, although she insisted her alleged theft was entirely unintentional.
The shopper shared how she regularly visited the Wegman store for supplies, often spending up to $500 on groceries.
A horrified Amber was devastated by the store’s decision to escalate the incident with authorities rather than confront her on the way out.
She continued: “I would have had them look over my whole car. They didn’t have to do what they were doing at all.
“I’m only human, so. Yes, I made a mistake. An honest mistake but I wish they had come to me.
“Why wouldn’t you stop me at the door? If it was multiple items paid for in the bag and a few not paid for on purpose, I would understand.
“But it was a whole bag and it wasn’t on purpose and it really hurt my feelings.”
I’m only human, so. Yes, I made a mistake. Honest mistake, but I wish they had come to me on this.
She went to court in March, where she was found guilty of petty theft before appealing.
The mother took her claim to Henrico Circuit Court where she won her fight due to lack of evidence of her intent.
Wegmans was “disappointed” by the verdict and said their video evidence caught the customer leaving without paying for nearly $250 worth of items.
The firm said in a statement: “On March 2, 2022, Ms Groome was found guilty of petty larceny but has filed for an appeal.
“On May 17, 2022, another judge heard the appeal in the district court and ruled that he was not guilty as there was no evidence of intent.
“We are disappointed with this verdict as we have video evidence of Ms. Groome leaving our store without paying for nearly $250 worth of merchandise.”
Amber has now warned other shoppers to keep their sanity at checkout while she works to clear her name.
‘FIGHT TO THE END’
Legal experts have given customers some tips on how to avoid getting caught by the self-checkout machines.
The mother explained that at the time of the incident she was juggling a job in a restaurant alongside her work in healthcare.
She claims she “lost so much money” fighting the allegations and also lost one of her jobs as she had to take time off to fight her case.
Amber added: “I want my file deleted, so if I take a regular job and they pull my file, they won’t see it.
“I’m going to fight this to the end because I feel like I’m doing myself a disservice if I don’t.”
Henrico police were reportedly called to the Short Pump store 44 times in 2021 for theft and shoplifting.
We previously shared how a Walmart shopper was accused of stealing groceries after her self-service checkout froze.
Lesleigh Nurse was arrested in Alabama in November 2016 on charges of stealing 11 items, including Christmas lights, bread and cereal.
She was using one of the self-checkout machines at the Semmes store and needed the help of a worker when the barcode scanner froze.
Bosses reportedly threatened to press charges if she didn’t pay her back $200 — more than the amount she was falsely accused of theft.
https://www.the-sun.com/lifestyle/6082355/wegmans-self-checkout-scariest-experience-of-life/ I used Wegman’s self-checkout and had the SCORIEST experience of my life – how it can happen to you and what to look out for