SANTA FE, NM (KOB/WCMH) — A Santa Fe, New Mexico woman says she was humiliated when a Walmart employee forced her to lift her shirt and expose her body in front of customers after accusing her of shoplifting.
Patricia Pautke went into the store to browse the Halloween selection last week, but as she was leaving, she was stopped by a store employee.
“He said ‘Ma’am are you pregnant?’ and I said ‘Yes I am,’ and he said ‘You did not look pregnant five minutes ago,'” Pautke told KOB. “He said, ‘I’m going to need you to lift up your shirt right now and prove to me that you don’t have anything under your shirt.'”
Pautke said at the front of the store, in front of other employees and customers, she lifted up her shirt. She said only when she proved she wasn’t hiding anything did employee told her to have a good day.
“I couldn’t believe this happened to me,” Pautke said. “I’ve never heard of this happening before and how humiliated and embarrassed I was that they didn’t even take me into a room.”
Pautke was able to speak with the manager, who apologized after watching the surveillance video, but she still filed a report with the Santa Fe Police Department.
“You can’t just apologize and make this experience go away. You know, I’ve thought about it daily since it happened, and it’s just really traumatized me,” she said.
Walmart’s Senior manager of Corporate Communications Leslee Wright released a statement regarding the incident.
“We’re sorry for the experience Ms. Pautke had in our store,” the release said. “We take this seriously and are looking into it. We will take action as appropriate.”
As for Pautke, she doesn’t plan on returning to that Walmart location because she doesn’t want to have a chance of interacting with that employee again.