Academy Sports admits policy violation in Weslaco vehicle theft case
Wed, 25 Apr 2012 04:04:50 GMT —
When crime occurs, police say surveillance video is crucial.
"To develop leads and identify potential suspects," Officer J.P. Rodriguez, spokesperson at Weslaco Police Department said. "Which is why we would like to have the information as soon as possible."
Take for instance, a recent armed robbery at a Stripes convenience store.
The crook is caught on tape.
Weslaco police make an arrest within days of its immediate release.
It's a different story with Academy Sports + Outdoors in Weslaco, according to Roy Penaloza.
"If Academy had released the video... I would have had a fighting chance to get my truck back," he explained.
Roy says his truck, a white 2001 Ford f-250, is taken in broad daylight on Saturday from Academy's parking lot.
"The police officer said 'there was a crime committed... I need the video'... And they refused to let us see it," he said.
It's a claim initially denied by an Academy corporate spokesperson Elise Hasbrook.
She tells Action 4 News how Loss Prevention at the store did allow police to view the video in accordance with corporate policy.
But police records tell a different story.
The information casts a shadow of doubt on Academy's claim that the company did everything it could to cooperate with authorities.
Reporter: "I'm going to read you a line from Academy corporate spokesperson that police did view the video the day of the theft... and they did not request a copy of footage. Is that correct information?
Police: "That is not correct sir... They were not authorized to show the video to him."
While Officer J.P. Rodriguez respects company policies on surveillance video, he hopes businesses understand how cooperation with authorities is key to solving crimes.
Roy doesn't think Academy customers, who are victims of crime, should be treated this way.
"I feel as though they're treating me as a liar ... The police dept... We're all liars," he said.
Academy has since backtracked on its statement to Action 4 News.
"Unfortunately, in this particular instance our policy wasn't followed," Elise Hasbrook said.The company changed its tune after Action 4 News shed light on information uncovered on police reports that directly contradicts statements reportedly made by the store's loss prevention department.
Reporter: "Is there going to be any repercussions against employees for lying?"
Academy: "There was a simple miscommunication with our loss prevention department."
Reporter: "It doesn't seem like a simple miscommunication... When somebody says that police viewed video... When in fact on the police report... It states police were denied access... That's not a simple miscommunication."
Academy: "Do you have another question?"
Roy has full insurance coverage for his vehicle.
He hopes his story will help future victims of crime at Academy.
"I know it's too late for me... My truck is gone but I don't want this to happen to someone else," he said.
Whether a business or customer is victimized, police hope this case will also serve as a reminder about the importance of working with law enforcement to help solve crimes.
Academy's spokesperson calls the policy violation an "anomaly," and says action has been taken to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Police will be granted access to the video by Wednesday morning.
The company adds how Academy stores across the nation have an excellent relationship with law enforcement agencies when it comes to releasing surveillance video.Click here to join Ryan Wolf TMs Facebook pageClick here to follow Ryan Wolf on Twitter