New Jersey Wawa Mistakes Black Woman for Shoplifter Because of Her Big Afro

Illustration for article titled New Jersey Wawa Mistakes Black Woman for Shoplifter Because of Her Big Afro
Photo: iStock

There is only one black woman in the whole of America walking around with a big ass afro. At least, that’s what one Williamstown, N.J., Wawa employee seems to think, after stepping into a heaping pile of shit for accusing a black woman of shoplifting, all because a suspect who had been previously thrown out of the store for was also black...and had an afro.


Bernadine Rochelle is now demanding an apology after being confronted during an early morning run to the store to get trail mix and coffee, according to the Cherry Hill Courier-Post.

“The [Wawa] associate told Rochelle that she remembered Rochelle’s big afro from a prior occasion when she was stealing,” Attorney Karin Coger said in a statement earlier this week.

The employee, who was a young, white woman (surprise, surprise, Becky is at it again), “snatched the trail mix out of Rochelle’s right hand,” according to Coger. “Rochelle was frightened as the Wawa associate attempted to snatch the coffee out of her hand, as well.”

The worker then screamed at the already terrified Rochelle, “I put you out last week and you’re back here again stealing ... Get out!”

Coger said that the possibility of a lawsuit has not been entirely ruled out, the Courier-Post notes, even as Wawa has apologized to Rochelle, who is a state employee and least through the news site.

“We are very sorry for the experience Ms. Rochelle had,” spokeswoman Lori Bruce said. “Our goal is always to provide a welcoming, positive experience for our customers.”


Do your employees know about this goal?

Naturally, the encounter left Rochelle feeling “embarrassed, surprised and insulted” according to Coger.


Rochelle reported the incident and was referred to a regional manager who promised that an investigation would occur. However, according to Coger, Rochelle did not receive any apology at the time, written or verbal, and there has been no indication that the incident was investigated.

Several days after the June 20 incident, Rochelle got a letter and a $100 gift card from Wawa...and still no apology.


“That letter did not contain an apology or address the actual incident,” Coger said.

The letter detailed the gift card as “a token of our appreciation for your loyalty as a valued Wawa customer.”

News Editor at The Root, animation nerd, soca junkie, yogi



This is so fucking absurd and downright racist. Any cashier or sales associate knows you shouldn’t accuse someone of stealing, because 1.) that’s what loss prevention is for, 2.) they haven’t stolen anything until they’ve left the store and 3.) they can sue the shit out of you if you’re wrong. Acting like $10 worth of trail mix and coffee is worth a lawsuit is stupid as fuck. The racist employee just wanted to intimidate this woman. I hope Bernadine bankrupts this store.