Family Of Woman Falsely Accused Of Theft Wants Apology

Posted at 10:15 PM, Dec 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-11 23:54:06-05

The family of a Columbia woman falsely accused of theft at a local Walgreens said they want an apology. 

On Friday, officials with the Columbia Police Department posted to Facebook asking for the public's help to identify a woman in two surveillance pictures. They accused her of stealing toys from the "Toys For Tots" fundraiser box at the Walgreens on Nashville Highway last Wednesday. 

The next morning, Columbia police posted an update to Facebook calling the incident a misunderstanding because the woman turned out to be a Toys For Tots worker collecting the toys. 

"She's upset right now. She was embarrassed and cried because she had never been in trouble like that before," Maury County Toys For Tots Assistant Coordinator Kerry Hightower told NewsChannel 5. 



The woman falsely accused is Hightower's wife, Brenda, who was collecting the toys for her husband. Hightower is the only one with a badge, but he said there hasn't been any problems in the past before. 

"This is not the first time she went to the Walgreens to pick the toys up," Hightower said. 

Brenda told her husband that the clerk was not immediately available for several minutes and proceeded to get the toys from the box and put them into a bag. 

Evidently there was no issue until a police officer noticed the box was empty the next morning and reviewed the surveillance video. 

The Hightowers did not know anything was wrong until they received a call from their granddaughter saying Brenda's picture was all over Facebook. 

"This could've been avoided. I wasn't notified at all even though protocol is to notify me first if a theft were to happen," Hightower added. 

Although everything has been cleared, Hightower said his wife did not receive an apology.

"That would mean more to her than anything in the world to hear someone apologize and say it was not meant to happen," Hightower said. 

A manager at the Walgreens told NewsChannel 5 she could not legally give any comment.