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Report: Blind Walmart customer denies self-checkout theft charges

BY Dan Berthiaume

A legally blind Walmart shopper says he is innocent of concealing items and that the discounter’s self-checkout terminals may be to blame.

According to the Manchester Union Leader, Andrew Airey, a 39-year-old resident of Conway, NH who has been legally blind for 10 years, is contesting five separate charges of concealing items at the self-checkout kiosks in the North Conway, NH, Walmart store. He is accused of concealing one item per visit during five trips to the Walmart between May 4 and July 3, 2018. The items are all priced less than $8.  

Airey’s attorney maintains his client is innocent of all charges and that Walmart’s self-checkout kiosks are not user-friendly for blind shoppers. A judge denied a request to dismiss charges, but granted motions to find out if there is additional surveillance video of any of the self-checkout incidents and to obtain the names of any Walmart employees in the videos for subpoena purposes. Airey does not have any criminal record.

The National Federation for the Blind and three blind Maryland residents filed a federal lawsuit against Walmart in October 2018, claiming the retailer’s self-checkout kiosks violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because they are not fully accessible to blind customers. The suit is ongoing.

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