Photo lab employees allegedly circulate customer's personal pictures
WWMT - Meijer Photo Scandal 6p
PLAINWELL, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Police are investigating a photo scandal at a Meijer store tonight.
We're told employees in the photo lab started circulating a customer's personal pictures.
Wednesday, Newschannel 3 spoke to the young woman at the center of the case.
Jordan Areaux tells us she took her pregnancy announcement photos to the Meijer in Plainwell, hoping to surprise her family with the big news on Christmas Day.
But she says the surprise was spoiled almost immediately, after workers in the store started spreading them around.
The young Plainwell couple snapped photos at a local Christmas tree farm, sharing big news: a baby on the way, coming July 2017.
Areaux says she took the photos to Meijer, planning to print them off and wrap them up as Christmas gifts for both of their families.
"It would be the first grandbaby in our family, and my grandma actually has cancer, so we were going to kind of surprise her," she said.
But it turns out that Areaux was in for an even bigger surprise.
"This was the screenshot that was sent to me of the photo that was taken before I had even showed anyone," she said.
The 23-year-old says she went to high school with some of the girls in the photo lab, who took pictures of her pictures and started texting them around, with comments like "congrats, question mark?"
"I was really upset, angry, it was supposed to be a surprise, and now half of Allegan knew," Areaux said.
Worst of all, she says, the photos made it all the way to both her and her boyfriend's family long before the carefully planned Christmas surprise.
We took these privacy concerns to Meijer, who told us:
The team members involved in the incident no longer work for Meijer. We followed our standard protocol and once we received the complaint we immediately started an investigation. All photo department team members are required to adhere to a strict confidentiality policy.
Now the question remains--was this a crime?
We can tell you, it has been brought to the attention of the Allegan County Sheriff's Department.
The department says they are investigating if there is criminal wrongdoing in the case. A lawyer we spoke with also mentioned the potential for civil suits, citing invasion of privacy and defamation.
Meijer tells us they've opened their own investigation into what happened.
As soon as learn anything else about where this case stands, both criminally or civilly, we will let you know.