JEFFERSON — The Marion County Chamber of Commerce’s new Executive Director Tina Harris said Tuesday she is hiring an attorney to fight a shoplifting charge by Marshall Police Department in which she said she forgot to scan drinks in the bottom of her shopping cart while checking out at Walmart in Marshall.
“I have been humiliated and lied about,” Harris said on Tuesday. “I forgot to scan drinks on the bottom of my buggy at Walmart. I offered to pay and the lady was so rude, saying they were going to make an example out of me.”
Harris, who lives in Marshall, was stopped just before 7 p.m. on June 10 after checking out at Walmart in Marshall and approached by a store employee.
“On June 10, 2020, at approximately 6:55 p.m. an officer with the Marshall Police Department, was dispatched to Walmart in reference to a shoplifter who was detained by asset protection employees,” an incident report from Marshall police stated. “The complainant (Walmart) advised the female in their office failed to scan and purchase multiple items at the self-checkout register. The subject was arrested and transported to Harrison County Jail.”
Police charged Harris with theft of property more than $100 and less than $750, a class B misdemeanor. Harris posted $2,000 in bail the next day and was released from jail.
Harris said the charge isn’t even accurate as the two 12-packs of drinks she forgot to scan didn’t even add up to $100.
“I spent $111 and missed the drinks on the bottom at self checkout,” Harris said. “I offered to pay and they refused, saying they were going to make an example out of me. They refunded my $111 and then added the two 12-packs of drinks I forgot to scan so that the total was now over $100 so that I could be arrested.”
Harris said she is shocked at the treatment she received during the incident.
“I am 51 years old and have never been in trouble with the law or even had a ticket or accident against me,” she said. “I am sure I’m not the only one to ever forget to scan something on the bottom of the buggy. They had two checkers and it takes forever so I used the self checkout but I will never again and I don’t ever want to walk back inside a Walmart. I just can’t stop crying from the humiliation. People are so quick to judge, not even knowing the truth.”
Harris has hired an attorney to fight the charge.
“I have obtained an attorney. I wasn’t read my rights and got threatened while I was in jail while the jailer sat there laughing,” she said. “That place was horrible.”
Harris said the jail also had sick inmates in the same cell with other inmates and she was refused a mask to wear for her protection.
Harris, who was hired by the Marion County Chamber of Commerce in February, said she didn’t financially need the job and even volunteered to have her hours reduced during the COVID-19 shutdown to help the Chamber save funds.
She said that voluntary reduction of hours to help the Chamber is now being used to help smear her name by portraying her as a thief in need of money.
Chamber President Christy Burleson said Tuesday she couldn’t comment on Harris’ employment status with the Chamber or the incident.
“It’s so wrong when people try to make you look so bad,” Harris said. “People that have known me for a long time have said they know I am no thief and was raised better.”