HIGHLAND (CBSLA.com) — A 68-year-old woman was claiming Thursday management at a Highland Walmart told her not to contact police after she was allegedly assaulted inside the store.
Linda Andrade, of San Bernardino, said she was shopping inside the Walmart store at 4210 E. Highland Ave. on March 13 around 5 p.m. when a man allegedly come up behind her and pulled her gold chain.
“All of a sudden I was jerked back,” she told KCAL. “I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Your mind is going a million miles.”
Although stunned by the ambush, she kept her cool. Surveillance video of the attack shows the suspect tearing the necklace off her neck. It falls to the ground and Andrade confronts the suspect, who approaches her again before running off, leaving the necklace on the ground.
It was after the attack that Andrade said she felt victimized again — this time by Walmart management.
Andrade said she screamed for help but no one came.
Eventually when she spoke with store management about contacting police, she said was told not to because it would take officers a while to show up.
“She says well if you want me to call the police you’ll have to wait here for two to three hours,” she said.
After she returned home, Andrade contacted San Bernardino police, who arrived within 15 minutes.
San Bernardino Police said Walmart dropped the ball.
“The fact that we didn’t get the call on something like this when it’s a grand theft person involving a senior, you know a senior is a protected class in our society and we should have gotten the number one response on this,” said Lt. Richard Lawhead.
Walmart issued a statement afterwards as well as an apology to Andrade.
“We are committed to providing our customers with a safe shopping environment. While we can’t always prevent crime from happening, we can definitely do a better job of how we respond in a situation like this,” Walmart Spokeswoman Dianna Gee said. “We have reached out to Ms. Andrade to apologize for how this was handled. We have also reiterated our policies and procedures to those involved. We will work with local law enforcement to provide any information we have such as surveillance video to help identify the suspect responsible.”
As for Andrade, she was relieved that the necklace her husband gave her 30 years ago was not stolen, but she’s still shaken up.
“I never dreamt anyone would come up behind me like that and try to pull my necklace off,” she said.
At this point police say there is no evidence of a pattern of crime at this Walmart or in the area, but their investigation continues.