Calif. woman says Walmart told her not to report store assault

HIGHLAND, Calif. - A 68-year-old woman who was allegedly assaulted inside a Walmart last week said Thursday that the store's management told her not to contact police, reports CBS Los Angeles.

Linda Andrade, of San Bernardino, was shopping at the store in Highland when a man allegedly came up behind her and yanked at the gold chain around her neck.

"All of a sudden I was jerked back," Andrade told the station. "I couldn't figure out what was going on. Your mind is going a million miles."

Surveillance video reveals that the suspect tore the necklace off the victim's neck. It fell to the ground, and when the man approached Andrade again, she confronted the suspect, who ran off without picking up the jewelry.

Andrade said that store management told her not to contact police because it would take a long time for the officers to show up. "[A Walmart employee] says well if you want me to call the police you'll have to wait here for two to three hours," Andrade told the station.

The woman contacted San Bernardino police when she got home, and they arrived within 15 minutes, according to CBS LA.

"The fact that we didn't get the call on something like this when it's a grand theft person involving a senior, you know a senior is a protected class in our society and we should have gotten the number one response on this," Lt. Richard Lawhead told the station. Police say the suspect is wanted for attempted robbery and assault.

In response to Andrade's claims, Walmart issued a statement through spokeswoman Dianna Gee. "We are committed to providing our customers with a safe shopping environment. While we can't always prevent crime from happening, we can definitely do a better job of how we respond in a situation like this," the statement read. "We have reached out to Ms. Andrade to apologize for how this was handled. We have also reiterated our policies and procedures to those involved."

Andrade told CBS LA that she's still shaken up over the incident. "I never dreamt anyone would come up behind me like that and try to pull my necklace off," she said, telling the station that her husband her the gold chain over 30 years ago.

Police are investigating the incident and continue to look for the suspect.