A woman pregnant with twins was accused of hiding Staples merchandise under her shirt when she went shopping for school supplies.
Sherell Bates said she left her home Friday to purchase back-to-school items for her two other children and as the cashier was ringing up her items, an officer approached her.
“Mid-transaction, a police officer approached me and insisted he wanted to speak with me,” Bates recalled. “He asked what was under my shirt.”
The North Carolina woman thought the cop was kidding.
“Initially, I thought he was joking, so my response was, ‘Twins,’ ” Bates said of the interaction. “I’m 34 weeks with twins. I’m having a boy and a girl.”
Quickly realizing the officer was serious, Bates pulled up her shirt to expose her pregnant belly.
“At that point, to avoid him asking me again, I actually lifted my shirt just a little bit, just to expose my belly, so he could see that I’m just a regular pregnant person buying school supplies,” Bates said.
Pineville police said the Staples manager asked if law enforcement would approach Bates because they suspected her of shoplifting. When Bates confronted the manager, she was told several customers were taking items without paying.
‘In the past, we’ve had a lot of people putting school supplies or merchandise in their clothes and hiding, so I asked the officer to reach out to you,’” Bates said.
Staples issued a statement about the encounter and Bates said she’s thinking about taking legal action.
“You pretty much jumped the gun without any type of evidence, except my stomach is large,” Bates said. “That’s not fair. No mom should have to go through that.”
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