Gay couple ‘banned for life’ from Wal-Mart after false shoplifting claim

Couple banned from WalmartSOUTH BEND, Indiana — Joe Paolucci, who along with his twin sons and his partner, Thomas Hitchcock, have been banned from all Wal-Mart stores — not because they stole anything, but because they resisted being taken out of sight by store employees who falsely accused them of stealing.

Apparently, one of the gay fathers went to check out groceries while the other went back to get some Bic lighters, who then separately used the self-checkout aisle to purchase the lighters.

In August 16 incident, they were both detained by Wal-Mart employees, who they said were rude and threatening and demanded they proceed to an isolated area.

When they refused and asked for police to be called, the responding officers were not friendly to the couple either, they say.

After 45 minutes of being separated from their children and each other, one put in handcuffs, no less, they were told that store videotapes showed they had done nothing wrong.

But instead of an apology, the store’s staff read a statement that said they were ”being uncooperative,” and that they were banned for life from all Wal-Mart stores.

The couple has since received a letter from Wal-Mart still demanding that they pay 10 times the value of the lighters, items that were never shoplifted in to begin with.

Full story, South Bend Tribune.

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