Indiana Mayor Declares Walmart a Public Nuisance

Police have been called to Beech Grove store more than 1.2K times since 2014
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2015 9:57 AM CDT
Indiana Mayor Declares Walmart a Public Nuisance
In this May 9, 2013 file photo, a worker pushes shopping carts in front of a Walmart store in La Habra, Calif.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

An Indiana mayor has finally reached his breaking point after a third serious incident in as many months led police to a local Walmart store on Thursday—so he's declared it a public nuisance. Police say Gillace Samples, 42, waved a gun at employees of the Beech Grove location after he was caught shoplifting, then ran to a nearby restaurant where he shot himself in the head; Samples, who was wanted on two outstanding warrants, was listed in critical condition on Friday, reports the Indianapolis Star. Within two weeks back in June, an alleged shoplifter at the same store was involved in a car crash that killed a 63-year-old woman while fleeing police, the Star reported. Two women were also charged after getting into a brawl in the store's shampoo aisle.

"For a period of time, there were not any Beech Grove police officers patrolling the streets of Beech Grove because we were down at Walmart again dealing with an irrelevant shoplifter," a police rep told WTHR of Thursday's incident, noting the public nuisance designation will allow police to fine the store up to $2,500 per call. From February 2014 to mid-June, police made 1,278 visits to the store, resulting in 473 arrests. A Walmart rep says some shoplifters can enter a restorative justice program and pay a fine rather than be arrested, limiting police visits. But police say calls have spiked over the last two weeks. "I don't want to get a phone call every day saying that somebody pulled a gun at Walmart and has done something out of line," Mayor Dennis Buckley says. "That store is a real problem." (More Walmart stories.)

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