Richland Co. woman files police report after stalking incident inside Walmart on Two Notch Road

Richland Co. woman files police report after stalking incident inside Walmart on Two Notch Road
A Midlands woman said she was followed by three men while grocery shopping on Sunday in Columbia. (Source: Winta Adams)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A Richland County woman said three men stalked her inside the Walmart on Two Notch Road on Sunday night. She even took video of the incident and shared it on Facebook.

Winta Adams said she was just doing her normal grocery shopping Sunday afternoon around 1 p.m. when she realized three men were following closely behind her as she walked down each aisle. She said the men didn't have carts or any groceries in their hands.

That's when she whipped out her phone and took a video. In the video, you can hear Adams ask the men if they are following her. Instead of answering her question, she said the men looked at her, stepped out of the frame, and then went right back to following her. That's when Adams said she reported the incident to Walmart security.

She said Walmart security told her the men had left the building and another customer walked her out to her car.

Adams said she's thankful she was paying attention to her surroundings and followed her gut.

“A lot of times, we start second-guessing ourselves and that’s why people get abducted,” said Adams. “That’s why these things happen because we try to justify other peoples’ behavior. To have someone standing around loitering watching you, that’s very unnerving and it’s my aim to help bring awareness to what’s going on.”

Adams said she didn't file a police report right away because the men didn't commit a crime and she wasn't sure of their intention. Laurie Pineda, a victim’s advocate for the Richland County Sheriff's Department, said Adams did everything right inside the store.

"They didn’t commit a crime, but she felt threatened and, if you feel threatened and you feel harassed or intimidated, she was followed around quite a bit through the store. So, if that’s happening and you feel that, you have a right to reach out and get some help,” Pineda explained.

Lighthouse for Life, an organization that advocates for trafficking victims, said the behavior of the men who followed Adams is consistent with some cases of human trafficking.

"You don’t know if they had someone in the parking lot watching and identifying people to target as they walked into the store," said Lighthouse for Life CEO Jen Thompson. “If they are dangerous, she has possibly prevented them from preying on people at least in her community."

Since Adams filed a report, RCSD will be working with Walmart to review the security footage to determine if these men are connected to any other crimes in the area. Lighthouse for Life and RCSD said if you are ever in a situation like Adams, do not hesitate to call police for help.

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department Victim Services number is 576-3600. The National Human Trafficking Hotline number is 888-373-7888.

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