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Alabama woman awarded $2.1 million after being falsely arrested for shoplifting

Criminal charges against Lesleigh Nurse were dropped when Walmart employees failed to show to court.


A Mobile County jury on Wednesday awarded a Semmes woman $2.1 million after she said she was falsely accused by Walmart of shoplifting in 2016. 

Lesleigh Nurse was charged with stealing $48 worth of groceries, but told WKRG 5 that a self-checkout scanner malfunctioned, and even after getting help from a store employee and thinking the matter was resolved, she was stopped and later arrested. 

Criminal charges were later dropped when a Walmart employee failed to show at a court hearing, according to the news outlet, but she continued to receive letters from a law firm associated with Walmart demanding she pay $200 to settle the matter or they’d sue. 

“At first you think ‘well, I’ll pay it and it will all go away,’” Nurse told WKRG 5.  “But then I’m like I didn’t do anything wrong. Why would I pay for something I didn’t do?”

Nurse in 2018 sued Walmart over the practice of attempting to force people to pay for goods under the false pretense they stole them. 

Nurse’s attorney in the suit wrote that Walmart “engaged in a pattern and practice of targeting Alabama citizens falsely accused of shoplifting with demands that the innocent customer immediately pay money or risk getting sued by Walmart in addition to the criminal charges already pending against them. Often, as in this case, the money demanded to resolve the issue is substantially higher than the value of the merchandise allegedly stolen,” CBS News reported.

Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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