UPDATE: March 3, 2022: The trespass order against Victor Barbosa was cancelled on March 2 at Walmart's request, according to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office.
Palm Coast District 2 City Councilman Victor Barbosa was trespassed from the Palm Coast Walmart on Sunday, Feb. 28, on an allegation that he was shoplifting by "skip scanning" an $18 item of clothing at the self-checkout lane.
Barbosa said the incident was a misunderstanding.
When the store remotely halted the transaction and forced him to start over at another register, Barbosa again skip-scanned the same clothing item, the store's asset protection officer told a deputy.
"Last night I went to Walmart and used the self-checkout (note to self, never use self-checkout)," he wrote in a message to the Palm Coast Observer. "I spent over $300, and one item for $16 didn't scan, probably, and the next thing I know, they stop me at the door and gave me a trespass warning."
Asked about whether he'd skipped scanning the same item a second time after the store remotely halted the initial transaction, as an asset protection officer had alleged, Barbosa replied, "I scanned the stuff. I'm not a cashier. I spent $300; I was not going to purposefully not pay, I think it was, $16. Now, thinking, I wish I had asked her to scan it in front of me to see if the bar code was damaged."
According to a case report from the Flagler County Sheriff's Office, the store had contacted the FCSO at about 6:12 p.m.
An asset protection officer there told a deputy that she'd been watching the store's closed circuit camera feed when she saw Barbosa, 42, skip-scan a clothing item.
The store's asset protection team can halt a self-checkout transaction and force a customer to shift to another register and start ringing up all of their items all over again — a way to give a customer a second chance to ring up the items properly — and did so with Barbosa, she said, according to the FCSO's report.
But when he started over at another register, Barbosa again skip-scanned the same clothing item, according to the report.
"I scanned the stuff. I'm not a cashier. I spent $300; I was not going to purposefully not pay, I think it was, $16."
— VICTOR BARBOSA
The asset protection officer let Barbosa complete the purchase, then approached him, identified herself, and asked him to come to the store's asset protection office, according to the report. While waiting for deputies to arrive, she explained why she'd stopped him, and asked for his identification, according to the report.
Walmart's management confirmed to the arriving deputy that only one item had not been paid for.
Walmart has a policy of not charging shoplifters if the total amount stolen is less than $25, and, for that reason, did not charge Barbosa, according to the report.
At the store's request, the deputy did serve Barbosa with a trespass order, according to the report.
"This is sad and disappointing, because was just a misunderstanding, but yet I'm being portrayed as a criminal," Barbosa said.
Walmart self-checkout lines are both a site of known checkout scams and of complaints from people who say they've been unjustly accused; a jury awarded an Alabama woman $2.1 million in 2019 after she said Walmart had falsely accused and threatened her after her items failed to scan due to a scanning device error.
Barbosa said he'd been told to contact the store's corporate office and explain what had happened in order to have the trespass order canceled, and that he'd done so.
"They told me, 'Sorry for the misunderstanding, and it is being taken care of,'" Barbosa said.
He did not have verification that the trespass order had been lifted, but said he'd been given a ticket number or case number.