The crisp $100 bill that Megan Carpenter got for Christmas was
still in her pocket when a man cornered the teenager outside
a Crossgates Mall restroom and demanded that she fork over the
The man kept one hand jammed in his coat pocket, and Carpenter
worried it might be holding a weapon. She was alone and frightened
in an isolated hallway, but able to make mental notes of his
build, clothing and hairstyle as he snatched the bill from her
hand and dashed down a nearby escalator.
Megan's mom, Lori Carpenter, said the man frightened her daughter.
``When her boyfriend came out of the bathroom, they went to
find someone. They went to customer service,'' she said.
Instead of calling 911, which police said should have been
done, the person working at the information desk called mall
security. It took about 30 minutes and two calls for the security
guard to get there, and police still weren't called, Lori Carpenter
``I think there's definitely some security issues there at
the mall,'' she said. ``There are definitely some problems with
Guilderland Police Chief James Murley, whose department handles
hundreds of calls a year at the mall and has a substation there,
agreed with Carpenter that the incident was poorly handled.
``It should've been a call into our 911,'' Murley said. ``It
usually is and it was not.''
Initially, the security guard allegedly told the 14-year-old
they may not be able to get her money back.
``The security guard who showed up, rather than helping my
daughter or calling the police, told the girl if she didn't
know the serial numbers on the bill, they didn't have a way
of helping her,'' Carpenter said. ``He then told her she can
walk out to the bus stop with him to look for the guy. She was
reluctant to leave the mall with this man, even though he was
a security guard.''
As the teenagers and the security guard walked through the
mall, they ran into a Guilderland police officer on his way
back from an unrelated call. The officer brought the youths
to the police substation and took a report as Lori Carpenter
arrived to help her daughter.
By this time, almost two hours had passed since the robbery.
Despite the teenager's detailed description of the suspect,
there would be no manhunt.
Mark Wagner, Crossgates' manager, declined to answer questions
about the incident or say whether the mall has a policy to call
police if a crime takes place there.
``It's a police matter and we're not going to comment on any
police matters,'' Wagner said.
Amy Raimo, marketing manager at nearby Colonie Center mall,
said their mall has a policy that police are to be called in
response to any criminal activity.
``We work very closely with the town of Colonie Police Department
and we don't hesitate to call them for any reason at all,''
Lori Carpenter said Wagner has declined to return her telephone
calls. The mall's security director has called her several times
and said he will discipline the security guard for his handling
of the incident.
Carpenter was at least hoping for a gesture of goodwill from
the mall and asked the security director if they would consider
giving her daughter a gift certificate for the ordeal. The answer
was no, she said.