WILMINGTON — The Wilmington Police Department has been investigating an incident which has gained a lot of traction on social media in the past day — and they want the public to know what they say the video shows.
“On February 5th, our agency was contacted about an alleged human trafficking situation at our local Walmart. Our department spoke with the reporter of the incident, who also took to social media over her perceived observations of several Hispanic males,” according to Wilmington Police Chief Ron Cravens.
Police contacted Walmart, and police then viewed the store’s security cameras.
These are the facts that the video shows, said Cravens:
“The female and her child are the first to arrive at the store. A group of Hispanic males arrives after the female and her child are in the store. The female and her child are in Subway while a group of Hispanic males are also in the business during the lunchtime hours.
“The female leaves with her child and stops at the threshold of the carts with her child and adjusts some property, then starts to depart the store again as the males also start to exit the store. The men are not in a group, but rather in a staggered column as they walk behind the female and her child.
”The distance between the two groups is not alarming and the female actually makes it to her vehicle and is loading her child in the passenger side rear door as the group of males pass by her to the van that they arrived in. There appeared to be no physical or verbal contact from the group of males or the female and her child.
“Staff from the store also indicated that the group of men are routine patrons to the Subway restaurant and Walmart deli inside their store and have never caused an issue inside the store.
“As of this time, we feel that there is no imminent threat to the safety of our citizenry or the patrons of the involved stores,” continued Cravens. “The safety of our city and our community is of the highest priority, and all allegations of possible threats will be investigated thoroughly.”
He added that WPD will be conducting further follow-up investigations to identify and speak with the group of men observed in the video. The allegations have also been referred to the Clinton County Municipal Prosecutor’s Office for their review.
Walmart will also be monitoring the store for any suspicious activity and will advise if the group of men observed in the video return to the store, Cravens said.