Man is banned for life from a mall because he lost his car in the parking lot and mall security saw him going around all the cars and thought he was trying to break into a car. [St Petersburg Times]


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  1. trollkiller says:

    When in doubt, throw them out.

  2. TechnoDestructo says:

    I wonder how many people he can convince to also not go there?

  3. UpsetPanda says:

    How many 1991 Grand Marquis are there in a given parking lot? In that color. Seriously. This guy forgot where he left his car, but instead of trying to retrace his steps (i.e. I had to walk left to go toward the entrance, when I leave, my car is parked to the left of the entrance) he started looking into random cars and jiggling the handle? Common sense was not in play here. That can be attributed to either the fact that he is getting old (though IMO 57 is not old, though old age problems can crop up long before old age) or that he just wasn’t using common sense. Or that he is like many slightly older people, and they make decisions or act in a manner that might’ve been okay from another time but definitely isn’t okay now.

  4. TechnoDestructo says:

    What really sucks is that in a lot of places there is no public social space anymore that isn’t entirely on private property, and subject to this kind of arbitrary authority.

    You’re not going to run into someone on the street and have a conversation…at best you might spot their car and wave to them as they drive by.

    It doesn’t apply to the whole country, but if there is one thing most wrong with (most of) America, that is it.

  5. UpsetPanda says:

    @TechnoDestructo: I think the mall might’ve overreacted, considering even the police said they didn’t see criminal intent. But when I see my friend at the mall and we say hello, we’re not looking like we’re breaking into cars, regardless of where we are, private property or public. Mall security and one witnesss near Macy’s said it looked like he was trying to break into cars.

    Common sense says retrace your steps or look for cars that look similar to yours. I drive an SUV, if I can’t find my car I’m not going to scan the parking lot for sedans.

  6. acutusnothus says:

    This resurgence of puritanism knows no boundaries.

  7. haimtime says:

    kinda reminds me of the seinfeld episode

  8. jkaufman101 says:

    the mall owes him an apology. i have lost my car a couple of times in a mall parking lot and it sucked. the mall definitely overreacted and should be punished. fuck tyrone square mall in st. petersburg!

  9. dantsea says:

    Oh, Florida.

  10. Charles Duffy says:

    @CaffeinatedSquint: What’s this about “jiggling the handle” on other peoples’ cars? I’m not inclined to believe that accusation (made against a 57-year-old with no criminal record whatsoever) unless there’s security camera footage proving it — and if there were, the police probably would have decided that there was in fact criminal intent.

  11. sonichghog says:

    I am guessing he just jiggled the handles of the White Grand Marguis.

    But they can not ban him for life. Wasn,t there a court case in the last 2 years declaring “Malls” to be like main street? That they are not really private property anymore.

  12. niteflytes says:

    I am 43 and I lost my car in a mall parking lot about 5 years ago. It was right after a very traumatic time in my life (divorce, family deaths, and other bad stuff happening all at once). The mall in my town is not a huge mall, but it was during the Christmas shopping rush. I “thought” I knew what entrance I used and where I parked but my car wasn’t there. I tried another entrance, and another. As I wandered around the parking lot I became confused and panicked. I finally asked mall security for help. They laughed at me at first (humiliating at the time but I can only imagine how amusing it must have seemed to them) and wouldn’t take me seriously. Finally, one of the security guards realized I wasn’t kidding and I was genuinely upset and drove me around the parking lot until we found my car. He was very kind and said he understood how I would have not seen it if I didn’t know exactly where I parked. Anyway, point is, it can happen to anyone regardless of level of intelligence, age, mental status, common sense, etc. I see people wandering around looking for their cars quite often.

  13. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    It’s easy to “lose” your car, particularly if you forget to memorize where your car is or if you park in a different spot than usual. I’ve even done it at the grocery store. More than once, I parked on the other side of the lot from where I usually park, and then somebody with a huge truck pulls up next to me and totally obscures it from view. I come out of the store…and presto…my car isn’t anywhere to be found.

    Instant panic!

    How many 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis are there in a parking lot of a Florida mall? This is Florida…half of the state drives a 1991 Mercury Marquis!

  14. goller321 says:

    This is, with out a DOUBT, a couple of police wanna be security guards.
    I worked retail security and institutional security while I was in college, and I’ve had WAY too many dealings with these types of idiots. What they should have done is drove up and asked the man if he needed assistance. When he says he lost his car, offer to help him find it. Unless you know the person is a crook (and you do get to know them) you take them at their word, unless you’ve seen otherwise.
    And for the record, you don’t have to let them take your picture. They have no right. Nor do you owe them any information at all.
    The only thing I can say this guy did wrong was to allow the security morons and to some extent the cops, too much latitude in dealing with him.

  15. kc-guy says:

    My father went to wait in his car while my mother closed her office in the local mall. He got in his green mini van, turned on the radio, and was shocked when to woman in the passenger seat looked over at him and calmly asked, “So, where are we going?”

    Give this guy a break.

  16. EtherealStrife says:

    Could the source be more one-sided? It’d be nice if they’d bothered to talk to someone other than the “victim”.

  17. Smegzor says:

    If this story is true as given, it really sucks!
    I’m so glad I don’t live in the land of the ‘free’. Who wants to live in a police state?

  18. othium says:

    @goller321: I agree. He should have stood up for himself a bit more with these goons. These days you have to strongly verbalize that you understand your rights and that there may be negative legal consequences if they are violated.

    It hasn’t happened more than a handful of times, but when I have a store security employee start questioning me, I ask “am I being detained?”. Almost every encounter halted at that point and I was allowed to continue on my way. The one time it didn’t ended with an out of court settlement for my time and trouble.

  19. trollkiller says:

    @sonichghog: Is this what you were referring to? []
    Calif. Court: Malls Can’t Bar Protesters

    SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court has ruled that shopping malls can’t stop protesters from urging the boycott of stores while on mall property.

    In a 4-3 decision Monday, the justices ruled that the Fashion Valley mall in San Diego violated California’s free speech laws when it kicked out demonstrators in 1998.

  20. Rusted says:

    @trollkiller: I read that. Impressive that private property is now a public venue. I hope it gets overturned. Sets a bad precedent.

  21. trollkiller says:

    @Rusted: I will say I was not surprised that it was California. Private property rights are getting eroded at an alarming rate. It is bad enough that there are plenty of imminent domain cases where the property being seized is to be given over to another private party to increase tax revenue. But to lose the ability to grant or deny someone access to your property is beyond the pale.

  22. Syrenia says:

    @Charles Duffy: I used to drive a beige Toyota Camry. During the time that I had it, I must have tried to “break into” at least a half dozen beige Camrys that I mistook for my own. Typically, mine would be one row over, or two cars down, or catty-corner to the one I was trying to open — always close enough to mine that I’d heard the alarm beep. I’d be standing there pulling on the handle until a moment of clarity arrived and I’d finally notice that there was an automatic transmission, or a car seat, or something.

    RE this article: I liked how they asked him to leave, and he did (to the Kinkos across the street to call someone to come get him) and they then called the police because he “ran away”. Let’s all say it together… “power trip”.

  23. rg says:

    I’m guessing you’ve never been to Florida…the Grand Marquis capital of the world.

  24. novelgirl says:

    @EtherealStrife: The mall and mall security refused to talk. Their silence shouldn’t result in a story being killed or not written. At least the police were quoted.
    I’m relatively young and I can see this happening to me. When I’ve lost my car in parking lots, I’ve had that panicky sensation. All the sudden every car looks like yours!

  25. Propaniac says:

    I have to agree with those who are inclined not to believe the assertion that he was trying to open the doors of random cars. He would probably admit it if he had been that confused. And if he was trying to get into cars, and denying it, then he probably was actually trying to steal one and this whole “lost old man” story is just a facade, which is an idea I find really funny.

    But I totally sympathize with getting confused trying to find your car in a crowded lot. When I was a kid, I was visiting my aunt across the country for the first time, and when we left a store and got into her car, I noticed a jar of baby wipes on the floor and was trying to figure out what use my childless aunt might have for them. Finally I asked (as she was still fumbling in her purse), “Is this the right car?” Turned out it wasn’t!

  26. KogeLiz says:

    Have you ever been to Florida?
    I frequented the same mall (which has a huge parking lot) for 8 or 9 years before moving.

    Since Florida has the sun beating down and since a lot of people are seniors – the parking lots are FLOODED with white/tan/light colored Grand Marquis, Cadillacs, Buicks, etc and just plain light colored cars in general.
    I owned a silver Toyota Corolla and have tried to open several car doors thinking they were mine.

  27. snowmentality says:

    Well, once I confidently walked up to my car, took out my key, inserted it in the door — and looked down to see a blonde woman in the driver’s seat, looking at me in terror. I leapt back (my first thought was that she was stealing my car) and only then did I realize that it wasn’t my car. And I was 24 years old.

    I gestured apologies and got the hell out of there before she called the cops on me for trying to carjack her or something.

    So I have some sympathy for the guy.

  28. wring says:

    I can’t wait till this happens to me.

  29. lostacarfoundamess says:

    From what I heard it was Macy’s who fingered this man.
    Then they tossed him around till he turned blue and kicked him out. If this is how Macy’s Department stores treats their customers they have lost my