Four black teens from Chesapeake, Virginia, were wrongfully detained inside of a beauty supply store after the owner thought they were thieves, according to Blavity.
Based on the account of the store owner, the case of mistaken identity was allegedly rooted in a Dec. 28 incident where a group of black teens supposedly stole more than $1,000 worth of beauty supplies. Using footage from the store’s surveillance, the owner of Coco’s Beauty Supply created and distributed flyers with a picture of the alleged perpetrators among the other businesses in the strip mall where the store is located, including a Subway sandwich shop a few doors down.
Reubin Houston, a father of one of the girls illegally detained, said a manager at the Coco Beauty Supply in the Parkview Shopping Center locked his daughter and her friends inside the store earlier this month because they thought that they were the group of girls who were previously recorded stealing the merchandise.
After the girls were locked inside the beauty supply store, Chesapeake Police arrived and investigated the accusations against the girls and determined that the 16-year-old and her friends were not involved in the robbery back in December and released them. Houston then filed a police report claiming the group was racially profiled.
A Chesapeake police spokesman said the girls should not have been locked in the store. Police are consulting with the city commonwealth’s attorney to see what should be done including the possibility of abduction charges.
The store manager has since apologized for the mistake and she is saying that she was acting on the instructions of the security guard, while the guard is denying this although he did help to distribute the flyers created by Coco’s Beauty Supply owner. Instead, the guard has blamed his involvement on a Subway employee who called him to report that he saw the girls and thus took action to inform the store manager.
A written statement from the Subway employee read: “Served the girls then security brought us a picture of the suspects, noticed one was sitting eating and alerted security and dialed 911,” reports WAVY.