Police Charge Man Involved in Scuffle with Wawa Employee with Shoplifting, Assault,Violating Gov. Orders
updated below sixth paragraph June 26, 2020
William E. Cleary Sr. | CNBNews
MOUNT EPHRAIM, NJ (June 24, 2020)(Gloucestercitynews.net)--Carmen Vasaturo, the suspect who was thrown out of the Mount Ephraim Wawa on June 15, at 5pm for not wearing a mask has been charged with shoplifting, assault, and violating the governor’s orders according to the documents received from the Mount Ephraim
Police via an Open Public Records Act request.
Officer Jeffrey Kind of the Mt. Ephraim Police stated in his report when he arrived at the Wawa Vasaturo told him he was assaulted by David Mason, the store's food and beverage employee. The officer said Vasaturo admitted he went into the store without a mask despite visible signs posted on the door requesting patrons to do so.
Vasaturo said once in inside he was approached by Mason who said he needed to wear a mask, and if not he would be refused service.
Officer Kind said, "Vasaturo went and served himself a cup of coffee despite being told he was not allowed. He stated Mason followed him and kept telling him that he needed to have a mask on to be in the store. Vasaturo advised that he went to the register and Mason told the cashier not to ring Vasaturo up because he was not allowed in the store. Vasaturo then stated he exited the store with the coffee and Mason attempted to stop him. Once they were outside Vasaturo stated Mason attacked him and he threw the cup of coffee on Mason. The two continued to attempt to strike each other before separating. "
According to Kind the MEPRI ambulance square transported Vasaturo to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital for treatment.
Officer Kind said on June 16 video surveillance was retrieved. "While watching the video Vasaturo was observed entering without a mask and ignoring the request of the employees. He can be seen walking with a cup of coffee toward the register and Mason is walking with him keeping his hands as his sides in a non-threatening manner. Mason continues to walk with Vasaturo who then walks toward the door. Mason can be seen, still keeping his hands at his sides, trying to passively stop Vasaturo from leaving with the coffee. Vasaturo can be seen pushing past Mason as the two continue to walk outside. The video surveillance was unable to capture the incident that had occurred outside."
"Based on the written statement and video surveillance it was determined that Vasaturo was the aggressor," said Kind. "As a result of Vasaturo’s comments and the possibility of bias intimidation, I notified the Assistant Prosecutor, Nevan Soumilas. After speaking with the Soumilas, she advised that because Vasaturo’s comments were made after the assault had occurred the incident would not classify as bias intimidation. He allegedly used racial slurs. She advised that Vasaturo be charged with shoplifting assault, and failing to comply with a governor’s order."
A person who works in a Gloucester County Heritage store, which is similar to Wawa stores, said after reading our first article on this topic, "I had a guy in last week who came into the store screaming he was not going to wear a mask despite him having one hanging from his neck. I mean he was screaming so loud he was scary the other employees in the store. That's how loud he was, I told him we didn't have to serve him, but he wasn't even listening to me he was screaming so loud! "
"I went to the phone and said I was calling the cops. When I said that he put on his mask and paid. He is not welcomed back in our store. People who work at Heritages or at a Wawa are only doing their job, and yet some people think it is us that is requiring them to wear a mask. As for an employee getting into physical fight, no, that's just not worth it! But we get some scary people especially since this all started! I've had quite a few people throw money at me for no reason, there just stressed and angry that this still is going on I guess but it's not fair to us, the workers, were out here risking ourselves and our families and we don't deserve to be treated so poorly! We are just trying to make a living like everyone else. Since this started it has been horrible working because of these mean type of people. I just thought your readers should know the other side, the employees side! Please don't use my name."
A quick search of the internet for similar circumstances involving Wawa customers revealed that in April at a Toms River Wawa, a 70-year-old man was arrested twice in one day for not wearing a mask in their stores. According to NBC New York, Stephen Breza went into a Wawa store on Route 37 in Toms River shortly before 11 a.m. on April 11. When he was told he had to wear a mask inside the store, Breza starting screaming and cursing at employees while flailing his arms, police said and threatened a customer that he was going to beat him with a pipe.
A call was made to Wawa corporate headquarters, Media, PA, for a response but as of today we still haven't received an answer to our request.