Woman’s backpack returned to wrong customer at discount store

DENVER -- Many stores now require backpacks to be checked in a secure area to cut down on shoplifting.

Doing that is usually just fine, but if there is a mix-up you may never see your belongings again.

Sixty-four year old Mary Burks took the bus to the Family Dollar store on Sheridan Boulevard in Denver to save money.

She tells the FOX31 Problem Solvers after she completed her purchase, she went to retrieve her bag, but the attendant said it was given to another customer.

Mary's purse was in the backpack. "I told him you gave (away) everything I had for the month, I have nothing. I don't even have keys. I have no way to get home."

Mary's identification and bus pass were also in the bag, so she had to walk home in the searing hot temperatures.

Mary has asthma and the exertion was a strain on her health.

The FOX31 Problem Solvers contacted the Family Dollar Corporate office in North Carolina.

They say they had no idea of what had happened and would reach out to Mary.

She tells the Problem Solvers a member of the management contacted her right away. "He said he would look into it, he was getting ready to go on an airplane."

A police report has been filed in this case and investigators are looking for Mary's identification.

The Problem Solvers asked Lakewood Police about ways to safeguard your belongings if asked to check your bag or backpack.

Commander Mark Reeves said, "if people are going into stores which they're being asked to leave their belongings, it might be wiser to just go ahead and put their belongings in their trunk or somewhere secured out of sight."

If you don't have a car, police advise taking your license, money and other important belongings out of the bag and keeping them with you.

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