Mistaken identity leads to man being temporarily banned from Truro supermarket

Harry Sullivan hsullivan@trurodaily.com
Published on March 20, 2014

Truro resident Andrew Walker said his shopping days at Sobeys are over after he was banned from the store over what turned out to be a mistaken identity. HARRY

SULLIVAN – TRURO DAILY NEWS

TRURO – A Truro man who was banned from entering a Sobeys store because of a mistaken identification, says his shopping days there are over.

“Right now, I plan on not shopping there anymore,” said Andrew MacKay, 27, who said he was stopped by a floor security person at the Prince Street Sobeys on Monday night as he started to head out the door with about $80 worth of groceries he had paid for.

“We’re pretty well known there. I know of lot of employees there and we go there quite often,” he said, referring to his girlfriend who had accompanied him.

“I kind of noticed somebody following me around and I didn’t think nothing of it until I met him at the front door and he stopped me. He never said who he was or anything. He just said ‘excuse me sir, you’ve been verbally warned not to come back into this store again so we’re serving you a no-trespassing notice.’

“I kind of laughed and said, ‘is this a joke or something?’”

MacKay said the security person showed him a still shot taken from the store’s security video of another individual and was told that he had been previously escorted from the premises by the store manager and told not to come back.

“He did resemble me a little bit but you could tell it wasn’t me (because he was heavier set) but he was pretty darned sure it was me,” MacKay said of the security individual.

“I was basically just going to push my way through these people and he held his hand up and said, ‘you are not going to go anywhere, the police are on their way, this is going to be dealt with right now.’”

MacKay said at that point, his girlfriend was asked to leave the store while he waited between the inner and outer doors with the security person and another female employee.

MacKay said he was confined in that area for about half an hour, all the while being scrutinized by other shoppers, including people he knows.

“I was just dumbfounded,” he said. “I was not worried because I could see it wasn’t me in the picture.”

But MacKay said the incident did leave him “completely embarrassed” and feeling like other shoppers were “thinking maybe I was a shoplifter or something.”

When the police arrived, MacKay said the first officer agreed with him that while he did resemble the person in the picture, he also told him “‘I can tell it’s not you.’”

But when the officer spoke with the security person, he remained adamant it was not a mistaken identity.

“I could hear Mr. (Rob) Rushton just basically saying over and over, ‘That’s him, I know it’s him,’” he said, despite the fact that “nobody that I was speaking to had met this person or seen this person (besides the store manager who was not present).”

MacKay said he called back to the store the next day and spoke to an assistant manager who said he would review the video footage with store security.

Later in the day, he received a call from the store and

was told that the no-trespassing notice was being revoked.

“‘Sorry about the inconvenience, have a nice day,’” he said, as to how the situation essentially ended.

MacKay said he also later received a call from the police who reiterated that the matter had been closed.

In an effort to let bygones be bygones, MacKay said he returned to the store Tuesday evening to do some more grocery shopping but ended up having a less-than-positive experience.

“Last night, going in there, all the employees were staring at me … it was weird going back in there again.”

MacKay said he does not feel it was right to have essentially been deemed “guilty until proven innocent” and he suggested Sobeys would be well served to have more appropriate security personnel.

“Number one, they should have more training or something or have somebody more suitable to do this job that can see these resemblances,” he said. “Or don’t accuse somebody if you don’t know for sure.”

A representative from the store contacted by the Truro Daily News declined to comment on the matter.

 

hsullivan@trurodaily.com

Twitter: @tdnharry