A recent Facebook post from a local mom of three who had a strange encounter at a North Tonawanda Walmart and shared her story has received a lot of questions on whether this story was true or not, so we contacted the North Tonawanda Police Department to give you more information.
Lieutenant Daryl Truty is in charge of this investigation and says the department is taking it very seriously. A police report has been filed and the woman who had an unwanted interaction in Walmart and then says she was followed by a van did report her entire story to the police of which they are actively looking into.
“We have not found anything that indicates that it was at that level [of kidnapping], but that doesn’t mean we are blowing it off. We are still investigating it,” said Truty.
Truty said Walmart is difficult to get video footage from because they do not have someone there full-time who can pull the video for them. He said Walmart did look at the footage for up to eight hours and said they didn’t see anything alarming, but Truty says not all of the aisles are covered by cameras and it doesn’t mean the incident didn’t take place. He still needs to look over footage to see if she was followed outside of the store.
“I have not been able to personally look at the video footage yet,” he said.
When asked if the public should be aware of these encounters, Truty said ongoing investigations are not always made public.
“We don’t actively put out information on everything we do. We’re looking into it. Obviously whatever happened in there – the confrontation with people in the store – that’s real. But there are several reports of this type of activity going on throughout the country and area and whether these people are actually from churches I can’t verify that right now,” he said.
But regardless the outcome of the investigation, Truty says if someone makes you feel uncomfortable in a store or anywhere, call 9-1-1 right away.
“People always need to be aware of their surroundings, whether it’s Walmart or anywhere,” he said.
He added the people working in Walmart are not security guards, so if you don’t feel safe it’s always best to call the police.
“If you feel uncomfortable or your personal space is being threatened, call us and we will check it out,” he said.
Blogger’s note (and this is our opinion): We are grateful to anyone who shares their story. I am not afraid to go into Walmart or any other store. But if I am approached by someone who catches me off guard and makes me feel uncomfortable now, I will immediately know what to do. This mom didn’t gain anything but judgement by sharing her story. I’m personally grateful she did.