REI Boilerplate Response to the May 8th ATM/Loomis/Arrest Incident

On May 8th, 2009 I was arrested at the downtown Seattle REI after I took a picture of an open ATM then refused to show my ID to Loomis employees, REI security or Seattle Police officers Officer GE Abed (#6270) and Officer Debra Pelich (#5976). One week later, REI has responded with a boilerplate message to members and customers that had written in about the incident. Several people have forwarded me a copy of it. So, I’m sharing it here.

It’s worth noting that one week later, REI has not made an effort to contact me. I am a member. They have my phone number, email and mailing address. Even if they didn’t, my contact information is not hard to find. It’s also worth noting, even though REI is claiming that they “did not request a trespass to be invoked”, the police report says otherwise. Either REI or the Seattle Police is lying.

From: Public Affairs <publicaffairs@rei.com>
Date: Fri, May 15, 2009 at 4:58 PM
Subject: REI Seattle
To: [MEMBER EMAIL]

[MEMBER NAME] –

Thank you for your email and the opportunity to explain the incident that occurred between one of our customers and a security company servicing an ATM in our Seattle store. It is unfortunate that the situation escalated to the point that the police were called by the ATM security officers and the customer was detained by the police. At no time did REI detain the individual and we did not request a trespass to be invoked. We do not intend to enforce the trespass issued by police, and the customer is free to visit our store in the future.

We appreciate people sharing their varied points of view about what should or should not have happened at the store. We regret that the matter couldn’t be defused before the police became involved. One step we are taking is to discuss with the ATM security company ways to prevent the circumstances that led to this problem.

We value your membership in the co-op and hope to serve your outdoor needs in the future.

Megan Behrbaum
REI Public Affairs

So, there’s that. If anyone else gets a different response and cares to share it, I’ll publish it here. Thanks to everyone that has been supportive through this. And thank you to the people that shared your emails to REI with me.

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