Found wallet leads to social media fracas

It was supposed to be a simple act of kindness.

When Jennifer Ricker, mother of three, found a wallet on the ground, she did what anyone who has ever lost a wallet would hope for: return it.

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“When I drove into the parking lot I felt like I ran over something,” she said, adding she initially thought it was like a small pothole.

But, when she opened her vehicle door she saw a large wallet on the ground, and some change near it. Putting the change back in the purse she found identification, so took the wallet into the nearby Dollar Tree to have it returned to the owner.

In terms of being a good Samaritan Ricker thought the matter over, her good deed done.

Instead, she found surveillance photos of herself posted to the internet without her consent, and with her children clearly visible in the shots.

Ricker says she had no idea that surveillance photos of herself had been posted. The images were posted on Roses and Raspberries of Yorkton, a members-only Facebook group, where members can give positive or negative feedback. The group also has 12 000 members, so the post was widely seen.

In fact, Ricker says, it took texts and Facebook messages from friends and family who saw the pictures before she did for her to know they had been posted.

Ricker's phone began to ping with messages asking about the photos. Unaware of what her friends were referring to, she finally logged on to Facebook. Posted were several surveillance photos of Ricker and her children, clearly identifiable, with the following message:

"Roses to this lady for returning my purse but raspberries because the money to buy my school supplies [sic] is all gone."

The mystery was not just the missing money and who took it before Ricker found the wallet, but how the store's surveillance footage wound up online.

The original poster, who was not an employee of Dollar Tree, was somehow able to obtain the surveillance footage from the store.

Initially, Ricker chose to give the poster the benefit of the doubt, chalking the situation up as a misunderstanding. In her mind, the solution was simple: contact the store in an effort to resolve the situation. "I thought reason would prevail."

Ricker wanted the photos removed. With clear snapshots of her children, Ricker was concerned about the violation of privacy, and with so many active on the Facebook group, she was equally concerned about the prospect of a casual viewer getting the wrong idea.

A call to the local Dollar Tree manager July 18, didn’t get Ricker the response she was looking for, but she told Yorkton This Week Aug. 16, that the footage has been removed from the Roses and Raspberries group. Ricker added she is not aware if they were voluntarily taken down by the original poster, or by an administrator of the Facebook group.

© Copyright Yorkton This Week

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