Victor Barbosa, the Palm Coast City Council member and a candidate for re-election this year, was trespassed from the city’s Walmart on Sunday (Feb. 27) after a store officer accused him of shoplifting by skip scanning san item at self-checkout.
Barbosa, 42, was briefly taken into “custody” at Walmart, according to a Flagler County Sheriff’s report, but was not charged with shoplifting. It is Walmart’s policy not to seek prosecution of individuals for shoplifted values below $25. But the store does trespass those individuals.
Barbosa this afternoon said he had planned to buy $300 worth of merchandise. “I was in a hurry and one thing didn’t get scanned,” he said. But the matter, he said, “was taken care of.” He said he called Walmart’s corporate office, which he said issued him an apology. He expected the trespass warning to be lifted. The Sheriff’s Office has not received any communication from Walmart to that effect as of close of business Monday, a sheriff’s spokesperson said.
According to 911 notes, Barbosa was in custody at 6:12 p.m., after an asset protection officer at Walmart observed him at the self-checkout scanners. She told a sheriff’s deputy that she had been surveilling customers at check-out through the store’s closed-circuit television system.
“As she watched [Barbosa] scan items to purchase, she observed him skip scanning a clothing item,” the sheriff’s more extensive incident report states.
As a means of deterrence and to give a shopper another chance to scan items properly, store officers have the ability to pause a transaction at a particular scanner, compelling the shopper to move to a different scanner and start all over again and pay for all items. The officer did that with the scanner Barbosa was using. He moved to another self-check-out register and started ringing up his items.
Barbosa “again did not scan the same clothing item,” The store officer told a deputy. He completed the transaction. Once done, the officer approached him, identified herself and asked him to accompany her to the asset protection office with a management associate. By then law enforcement had been requested. She asked Barbosa for his identification.
Barbosa at that point “began to get agitated and was verbally rude and disrespectful towards [the store officer] and anyone else that came into the office,” the sheriff’s deputy wrote. “Management made sure that there was only 1 item that was not paid for and did a training receipt for the item.” The deputy reported Barbosa in her presence as cooperating with all the deputy’s requests as he was being served with the trespass warning. Body camera footage shows Barbosa calm and compliant as the deputy explains that a trespass warning is better than an arrest for shoplifting. Handed the warning, Barbosa then left the property.
Trespassing is a second degree misdemeanor in Florida. Typically, the Sheriff’s Office does not arrest on a trespass but issues a trespass warnings, which has the same effect as a trespass–the individual may not return to the property–except if the warning is violated: at that point an arrest would be carried out.
Last July, the sheriff revealed that Victor Barbosa–or a man named Victor Barbosa whom it tied to the councilman by his passport–was under investigation for alleged felonies in Costa Rica. The investigation was forwarded to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Barbosa has denied knowledge of any of it, including his alleged charges in Costa Rica.
“I have received an update on it,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said on Feb. 24 after a press conference at the county courthouse. “What I can say is it’s still an active investigation with the Florida Department of law enforcement in conjunction with the US Department of Justice.”
An FDLE spokesperson today specified, with a caveat about the investigation: “I have no updates,” the spokesperson said. “We do not have a full investigation at this point. We opened a preliminary inquiry while awaiting documents from an outside source. We continue to wait for documents.”