Two Shoppers Falsely Featured As Wanted Fraud Suspects
BOUNTIFUL, Utah – It all started with a trip to the Smith’s Marketplace in Bountiful. Two women went to pick up some gift cards for the company they work for, and paid with company cards with their names on them.
Candice Moore and Suzie Solden used a self-checkout, and surveillance photos captured them leaving the store.
“We woke up to notifications from coworkers and family that we were being featured on Bountiful Police’s website and Facebook page, as wanted fraud suspects for credit card fraud and a vehicle burglary,” Moore said.
Unfortunately for them, although they were clearly seen in the photos, they had nothing to do with the crime.
“The timestamp of the video was not right, so these two young ladies were not involved,” said Bountiful Police Chief Tom Ross.
As it turned out, the real theft had happened on a completely different register, but the damage had been done.
“We’ve been called by coworkers, clients of the business we work for, and family members questioning our character and if we were involved in it,” Moore said.
Both women say they have thick skins, but were especially troubled by what they perceived to be angry and judgmental comments written about them by people online, some of which even mocked their appearance.
“I understand people make mistakes, but nobody should have to go through the slander and emotional stress that puts on you,” Moore said.
Ross pointed out that people sometimes incorrectly assume a person is guilty, just because a police department put a photo of them online.
“I think it’s important that the public understand, and most do, that just because we post a photo of a person that could be a suspect or could be a person of interest, however it is labeled, that all it means is that we would like to talk to them about a certain time or place when that video was taken,” he said.
On Thursday afternoon, Bountiful police posted a public apology, saying in part, “It was determined the videos we were provided, were not taken during the correct time frame in which the fraud occurred. Once we received this new information the post was immediately taken down.”
Ross says this sort of experience is new to him.
“This is the first time in the 12 years that I’ve been chief that we’ve ever posted a retraction,” he said. “The business that sent us the video, we’ve been working with them for years and years and years. This is the first time this has ever happened.”
Ross maintains that using social media is a valuable tool that works, and says it’s one his department will continue to utilize.
“I think the good outweighs the bad, and when things are done that none of us like the outcome, I think people appreciate when we’re able to say we’re sorry, and they certainly heard that from us,” he said.
Bountiful police say they’re still looking for the real suspects in the crime.
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