Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wal-Mart high crime rate continues uninvestigaterd

Wal-Mart Shootings

Previously I did a blog about Wal-Mart shoplifting vigilantism gone wild? where I focused primarily on the unusually large problems they have with shoplifting and how they often overreact and that a lot of this was almost certainly partially a result of policies made at the corporate office. This conclusion was partially backed up by a statistical study, "Is Wal-Mart Safe?" based on incidents in 2004, (PDF) which showed that they had four times as many incidents at Wal-Mart than their closest competitor, Target, among other problems. As far as I know there haven't been any other high profile studies that have been done since then but Wal-Mart Shootings have been compiling a list of many of the highest profile incidents that were gun related. These aren't statistically adequate for comparisons with other stores or enough to determine if they're caused by Wal-Mart policies; but a close look at some of these incidents combined with a look at some of Wal-Marts policies indicates that this is a major possibility worth considering especially when considering the statistical back up from the 2006 study. As reported in “Walmart: The High Cost of Low Prices.” a study done by Wal-Mart (available at Walmart Shootings) indicates they could reduce assaults in their parking lots almost to zero by posting a roving guard; but instead of doing so they squashed the study, presumably so they could save money on security. This doesn't seem to be a problem when it comes to security for stolen goods.

Research that supports the best interest of the majority of the public and raises doubts about the methods used to maximize profits routinely has a hard time getting funding.

Propaganda that supports corporate interests and biased research has much more funding and when it is done it routinely gets much better treatment from the press and the political establishment even when it is seriously flawed. 

Their problems might go beyond shoplifting and assaults as well as other crimes that were addressed in the study. They may also have a major problem with employees that strike out against oppressive policies by Wal-Mart. The vast majority of employees are almost certainly not involved in this, as may be indicated by the large number of protests that have been escalating over the last couple of years. However these protests and legitimate grievances aren't new and they haven't been overly successful, so far in bringing about changes that protect workers right. It is inevitable that a relatively small percentage of people might strike out as a result of this and in some cases they might do it with extreme measures.

There have been at least four high profile cases where employees planned assaults, killings or hostages of their co-workers or managers. In at least one case the perpetrator who shot three managers told a police officer he wanted to “get even and embarrass Wal-Mart.” A typical response to these incidents might be "that's no excuse," which would be true if you consider the definition of "excuse" a justifiable reason for committing a crime; however it may still be the reason for it even if it isn't justifiable. Furthermore there are many more people that don't go to extremes to express their grievances and they aren't addressed. If the government or the companies don't fix the lack of fairness because of the people that go to extremes then they should do it for those that don't go to extremes and attempt to address their problems through reasonable means.

Unfortunately this doesn't happen; and this is almost certainly a major contributing factor to their high rate of incidents.

Another major problem that they've been having for years appears to be an enormous number of bomb threats; however there doesn't seem to be much media coverage of this except at the local level and they treat the vast majority of them as isolated incidents. On the rare occasions where the news stories about these do acknowledge the fact that they are quite common they still don't seem to report on how many bomb threats there are. Few if any of them are in my area and while preparing this blog I was unaware that they were going on at all until I was almost done compiling links about other types of crimes when I found two stories about bomb threats in different states and they were both treated as isolated incidents without acknowledging the other. It didn't take long after that to find out that there have been dozens of them going on over the past few months and when I looked for more it is clear that there have been many more over the years. Without further investigation it is hard to tell how many there are but there almost certainly have hundreds if not thousands of bomb threats over the years.

Most if not all of these bomb threats seem to have been false alarms; however they continue to treat most of them as real threats often closing the stores and evacuating the stores at an enormous expense to the store and the taxpayers. One reason why they may feel they have to do this is that although most of the threats have been false there have also been at least nine incidents where bombs have exploded, presumably without bomb threats in most cases, at Wal-Mart including one incident where there was over $12,000 worth of damage and another where five people were injured. The few examples where they caught people that were suspected of calling in these threats didn't mention their motives. I don't know for certain but I wouldn't rule out the possibility that at least some of these people were angry at Wal-Mart and like the employees who carried out shootings in response to their grievances I wouldn't consider these hypothetical grievances excuses or justifiable reasons for calling these bomb threats but it might be considered all the more reason why they should do more to address the grievances of those who use legitimate means to raise their complaints. There are plenty of other sources to indicate that there have been an enormous amount of problems with Wal-Mart and most people can't get any help from either the corporate office, the government or the media. The corporate office is run by people that only seem to be interested in profit; the media is collecting an enormous amount of advertising dollars from Wal-Mart, not to mention the possibility that they may have interlocking board members; and the government is run by politicians that are more concerned about serving the interests of their campaign contributors including Wal-Mart than the public.

My point isn't that all my conclusions are conclusive; with the information available I wouldn't come to that conclusion. My point is that there is an enormous amount of information to indicate that there are major problems and that the research on it isn't adequate; however there is enough research, including more studies listed below, to indicate that there are major problems and even though all the details aren't conclusive it is clear that Wal-Mart policies are a major contributing factor to them. Wal-Mart responded to the crime study in, Response to Wake Up Wal-Mart’s Crime Study Release; this relatively brief response fails to address the vast majority of the problems raised by the original study and focuses on a few minor issues which it raises about the sampling used for the study. It includes a link to what they refer to as an "independent analysis discussing the defects in the UFCW study;" however the link they provide is no longer active; and many corporations, including Wal-Mart, have a history of either financing their own studies which tend to be biased or misrepresenting other studies. they decline to provide any link to the study they are refuting so unless someone knows where to look they might not realize how many problems there are with their rebuttal. Unlike many other researchers they decline to call for more research which is almost always helpful. They seem to expect people to accept their word for it and pretend their isn't a problem. Their inadequate response to this problem is typical, as indicated in one of the earliest crimes listed below where one of their employees stole a truck while it was being repaired at Sam's Club and Wal-Mart initially refused to accept any responsibility and told the owner of the truck that he should raise his complaint with the former employee who was in jail, had no money and the truck was already stripped for parts. It wasn't until after it became a national story where Wal-Mart agreed to compensate him. this reluctance to address problems unless they absolutely have to has been going on since. Instead of competing for business and maintaining a good reputation they rely on political connections to enable their growth; but that is almost certainly coming to an end.

They have even more problems during the Christmas season and as I explained in, Why no discussion on preventing Black Friday Riots in the media? I have no doubt that if they did more research into that as well they would almost certainly find that Wal-Mart policies are a major contributing factor that cases the annual Black Friday Riots. Many of these crimes involve low income people that have much fewer educational and economic opportunities especially with the outsourcing and wage suppression that is being led by Wal-Mart among other corporations. The usual claim would of course be that this is no excuse and that we shouldn't blame society. this is a very simple and easy answer that many people might be willing to accept; however there is enough research available, if people are willing to look at it, to indicate that if we did more to address social problems that these incidents could be dramatically reduced. this doesn't mean that Wal-Mart is the sole contributing cause of crime or even the leading one; as indicated in other posts I have no doubt that the biggest contributing cause to violence and other crimes is almost certainly early child abuse that leads to more violence later in life. However it is almost certainly a contributing cause; and as long as corporations have excessive control over the political establishment we can't even address other problems properly. Wal-Mart executives also support ALEC which is promoting many other conservative causes that are detrimental to society in other ways as well.

There problems have become so extreme that even if they can convince the media and the political establishment to continue to look the other way they can't hide it.

The following are some additional studies that have been done about Wal-Mart:

Do Big-Box Stores Help Create Hate Groups? Study Says Yes

Study Says The More Walmarts In The Area, The More Hate Groups There Are

Study Exposes Wal-Mart Crime and Safety Issues

Key Studies on Big-Box Retail & Independent Business

Reports and Economic Impact Studies on Wal-Mart and Big Box Development

Recent headlines about Wal-Mart which at any given time will involve additional problems with crime. For comparisons sake this headline search can be done for their competitors if your inclined to do so. When I did so I didn't find nearly as many stories about other stores; but their competitors don't have nearly as many stores. For statistical purposes the 2006 study is almost certainly more reliable pending further research.

The following are some of the crime stories that I found dating back at least to 2000 and a few incidents from the nineties. To minimize redundancy I didn't include many of the stories covered in either Wal-Mart shoplifting vigilantism gone wild? or Wal-Mart Shootings. When it comes to gun related crimes since January of 2012 Walmart Shootings provides a much more comprehensive list of incidents; however there are still a few they missed and this list also includes many incidents beyond their gun related criteria. They're listed in approximate chronological order; however some of them might be dated according to the time the articles were posted, especially when they refer to court proceedings months after the incident.

Truck Stolen, Stripped, But Still Gets Owner Runaround December 13, 1995|Mike Royko

One of the great success stories of our time is Wal-Mart. That homespun company really knows how to make money.

And Eric Matthys, a customer, says he recently got an idea of why they have done so well.

Matthys, 28, of St. Charles, Ill., needed some new tires for his pickup truck, so he went to Sam's Club, a Wal-Mart warehouse outlet that sells all sorts of basic stuff.

"I bought the tires, then drove around to the service area where they put the tires on. They said it would be done in 45 minutes to an hour, so I went and did shopping.

"When I came back, the employee I had dealt with asked me if I got my truck. I said, no, I was just coming for it. We looked around and the truck wasn't to be seen. Then he said that an employee had been finishing his shift just about the time I brought the truck in. The employee was gone and so was my truck." .....

"I told him that this was something other people might like to hear about, and that really got him mad. He warned me that I could be held liable for anything bad I said against Wal-Mart. I told him that I didn't see how I could be held liable for the truth.

"Then later I got a call from someone named Becky at that office who told me that Wal-Mart isn't responsible for the actions of its employees. That's something. One of their employees is in jail for stealing my truck while it was in the care of Sam's Club, but they say they aren't responsible. I don't have the financial resources to take on Wal-Mart. But they don't give me any choice. Complete article

99 Verdicts Against Wal-Mart (As of September 1999)

This compilation, 99 Verdicts Against Wal-Mart, is the first effort of the Wal-Mart Litigation Project. This collection of cases is the first of its kind - an attempt to publish a cross-section of plaintiff-favorable results against the nation's largest retailer.

The purpose of 99 Verdicts Against Wal-Mart is to educate plaintiffs' lawyers about cases similar to their own against Wal-Mart and facilitate communication between plaintiffs' lawyers on issues of discovery, law and litigation tactics.

Wal-Mart is sued two to five times each day somewhere in the United States. These cases involve slip-and-falls, falling merchandise, and false imprisonment/malicious prosecution. They also involve suits brought by employees alleging various kinds of discrimination. Also, the company is sued on a wide range of matters such as pharmacy malpractice, defective products, broken contracts with vendors, and copyright violations.

The following is a representative sample of lawsuits involving Wal-Mart. Complete article

Shooting Outside Wal-Mart Kills Two 06/12/1999

Man Shoots Wife, Kills Self In Pottstown Store Brian Midgette, 47, Chased Marsha Midgette, 45, In Wal-mart, Where She Worked. She Was Hospitalized. 08/31/2000

Howard Wal-Mart employee charged with assault 01/26/2001

Teens Charged With Setting Off Bombs in Maine Wal-Mart 11/26/2006

Five people were injured in an explosion at a Wal-Mart in Sylva, which is west of Asheville. 09/26/2007

Press Release Assault at Walmart Blvd - Hudson NH Police Department 10/09/2007

Updated: Jacksonville Wal-Mart Employee Opens Fire Inside Store, Creating Chaos 03/24/2008 A man accused of shooting up the new Jacksonville Walmart made his first court appearance Monday.

Police say 18 year old Elijah Payne was working there at the time. They say he went on an employee break from his shift around 2:30 A.M. That's when he reportedly went to his car, grabbed a sawed off shotgun and covered his face in cami paint. Police say Payne held about 15 people hostage in an employee breakroom no one was injured in the attack.

Payne's charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and manufacturing a weapon of mass destruction. He's due in court again on April 14th. Complete article

Is Wal-Mart’s Lack Of Security To Blame For What Could Have Ended Up A Mass-Killing? 03/24/2008

Explosive Device Discovered at a Boone Wal-Mart 07/20/2008


Assaulted Walmart Greeter Sues Police Officer and Chattanooga Police Department 02/05/2009

Wal-Mart Bomb Threats Part of National Movement 02/20/2009

1 teen wounded; 1 arrested in NH Wal-Mart shooting 03/04/2009

Homemade bomb explodes at Maryland Wal-Mart 03/16/2009

Wal-Mart employee injured in shooting with co-worker 07/09/2009

Walmart Back Open After Bomb Threat 08/09/2013

Montana Police Release Man Who Shot Co-Worker at Wal-Mart Due to State’s Sweeping “Castle Doctrine” Law 08/14/2009

For most prosecutors, it would seem an easy criminal case. Daniel Lira, 32, was working inside Wal-Mart’s loading dock area when he got into an argument with co-worker Craig Schmidt, 49. He ended up hitting Schmidt in the face. Schmidt responded by pulling out a .25-caliber semiautomatic Beretta handgun and shooting Lira in the head from as little as 10 feet away. Yellowstone County Attorney Dennis Paxinos, however, released Schmidt in light of Montana’s “castle doctrine law” which allows citizens to use potentially lethal force in self-defense — despite the escalation in the level of force by Schmidt from a fist fight to a shooting. Complete article

Remembering the Walmart bomb threat/CorTrust robbery, one year ago today 09/16/2009

UPDATE: Police arrest Racine man for Mount Pleasant Walmart Shooting 10/18/2009

Walmart Greeter Ed Bauman Fired for Defending Himself After Getting Punched by Customer 01/12/2010

2 Arrested in Aggravated Assault at Walmart 05/30/2010

Attempted Robbery At Wal-Mart In Fayetteville Where Shots Were Fired 09/17/2010

SUTHERLAND v. WAL MART STORES INC: 10/02/2010 Her allegations included maintenance of a hostile work environment based on sex discrimination and retaliation for reporting sex discrimination,

Worker shot 3 managers to 'get even and embarrass Wal-Mart,' jurors told 10/28/2010

Last year, a disgruntled Wal-Mart employee allegedly crept into the Reno store where he worked carrying two guns and a thirst for revenge.

John Gillane bought a box of .44-caliber bullets. Then, police say, he shot and wounded three managers, one of whom had given him a bad work evaluation.

The threat subsided only after Gillane, now 46, spoke for hours with Reno Police Officer Patrick O’Bryan, according to testimony in Gillane's trial, which is expected to last another week. .....

Gillane, a nine-year Wal-Mart employee, was broke, anxious and depressed. Over two hours, he told O’Bryan that he wanted to “get even and embarrass Wal-Mart,” O’Bryan testified, according to the Reno paper. “I told him he got his wish.” Complete article

John Gillane found guilty but What about Wal-Mart? 12/14/2011

HPD: Homemade bomb explodes at southwest Houston Walmart 11/04/2010

One dead, one injured in shooting at west Huntsville Walmart 12/06/2010

Two killed, two deputies injured in shooting at Port Orchard Walmart 01/23/2011

Fayetteville police arrest 2 in Walmart armed robbery 02/04/2011

Two arrested in attack of elderly Walmart greeter 03/27/2011

Sexual Predators and Serial Rapists Run Wild at Wal-Mart Supplier in Jordan 06/07/2011

Young women workers raped, tortured and beaten at the Classic Factory

According to witnesses who work at Classic Fashion, scores of young Sri Lankan women sewing clothing for Wal-Mart and Hanes have suffered routine sexual abuse and repeated rapes, and in some cases even torture. One young rape victim at the Classic factory in Jordan told us her assailant, a manager, bit her, leaving scars all over her body. Women who become pregnant are forcibly deported and returned to Sri Lanka. Women who refuse the sexual advances of Classic's managers are also beaten and deported. Complete article

Four arrested in Walmart robbery 06/10/2011

One Dead, One in Custody Following Mount Pleasant Walmart Stabbing 10/04/2011

MCSO: Explosive device found at Valley Walmart 11/24/2011

Chardon: Bomb threat forces Walmart evacuation 11/26/2011

Walmart bomb scare leads to arrest 12/03/2011

Danbury police charge 2 in Walmart parking lot shooting 12/23/2011

Sisters stabbed at Providence Walmart 11/25/2011

2 charged in Jacksonville Walmart parking lot shooting 12/27/2011

Man at Virginia Walmart distribution center opens fire, injuring manager and then killing himself 02/22/2012

33-year-old Melvin D. Taylor, Jr. "just didn't seem together" the day he showed up for his job at a Dinwiddie, Virginia Walmart distribution center. After his lunch break, he walked to the back of the building and opened fire, injuring 40-year-old Wynette Starks, a manager at the facility, in the leg. He then exited the building, where police were arriving, and had a shoot-out with them. Taylor then committed suicide. Complete article

Mr. Melvin D. Taylor, Jr. obituary

UPDATE: Gunshots Came After Walmart Shoplifting 04/16/2012

Walmart Bomb Threats Spread Across The Midwest Over The Weekend 07/30/2012

Wal-Mart assault trial set to begin Monday 08/17/2012

Walmart employee arrested for alleged police assault 08/28/2012

Man Arrested for Allegedly Kissing Random Women at Wal-Mart 09/13/2012

The Eunice Police Department responded to Wal-Mart in reference to an alleged battery complaint. A female Wal-Mart employee stated that an unknown man, later identified as Randy Butcher, tried to talking to her and when she tried to walk away he grabbed her and started kissing her. The employee managed to finally get away and notified her supervisor who called police while Butcher was still inside the store.

A second female victim was a customer shopping in the store. She said she was also approached by Randy Butcher who asked for her phone number while complementing her. At that moment the female victims said her boyfriend walked into the aisle and confronted Butcher when he observed his behavior. This victim also reported him to a Wal-Mart supervisor. Complete article

Walmart Evacuated Due To Bomb Threat 09/22/2012

Assaulted & Fired at Wal-Mart, Mom Says 10/03/2012

"Buck Bomb" at Chambersburg Wal-Mart causes $12,840 in damage 10/10/2012

Shopper Assaulted Over Wal-Mart Pumpkin by Al Norman 10/16/2012

Rockey Carter is asking Wal-Mart for an apology. But he is unlikely to get one.

On October 16th, Carter was shopping at a Wal-Mart in McKinney, Texas. "I walked through the store selecting the items on my list, and sorted them in my basket according to food type as I normally do," Carter told me. "At the last minute I decided it would be fun to pick up one or two pumpkins for my wife's party. I went to the lawn and garden center because the pumpkins are located outside the store." Complete article

Ontario jury awards former Walmart employee $1.46 million for constructive dismissal 10/19/2012

Juvenile charged with second-degree assault after incident at Walmart 11/13/2012

Walmart evacuated 'Perceived threat' brings a chaotic start to Black Friday shoppers 11/22/2012

Fayetteville Walmart hit by armed robbers Thursday night 12/14/2012

Customers frightened as man brings assault rifle into Walmart 12/18/2012

Walmart Employee Pinned to Ground by Coworkers After Coming to Work Drunk 12/28/2012

A Redding Walmart employee is facing criminal charges after officers said he came to work drunk and then threatened his co-workers while they pinned him down.

The incident was all caught on camera by Bryant Krause. He said he filmed it because he doesn't think it was fair for the supervisors to keep him on the ground.

Officers said 21 year old Kevin Pokorney was threatening those co-workers and that they were worried about their safety. Complete article

Middle Eastern Man Shot In Face For Dating A White Woman (VIDEO) 01/03/2013

Police: Exploding chemical bomb at Wichita Wal-Mart may have been a diversion tactic for theft 01/17/2013

Deputy injured at Boiling Springs Walmart; suspect arrested after brief chase 02/08/2013

Shoplifter who bit Yakima Wal-Mart officer gets 3 years in prison 03/05/2013

Workers win! Wal-mart warehouse workers fired and charged with theft after pursuing sexual assault charges against management, found innocent. 03/07/2013

Manhattan resident Priscilla Marshall was an 18-year-old warehouse worker when she reported that she was sexually harassed and abused by a boss to the Elwood Police Department in August 2010. Warehouse supervisors claimed Marshall and three family members were running a theft ring and all were fired.

Four Elwood warehouse workers who were fired and charged with theft after one of them reported being sexually harassed at work have had the criminal charges against them dropped. Complete article

Walmart Employee Assaulted 03/17/2013

San Jose police: Seaside man drove into Walmart, assaulted staff and customers 04/01/2013

SAN JOSE -- In a story that is racking up national headlines, police say a drug-addled Seaside native crashed his car into an East San Jose Walmart and bludgeoned customers and an employee with a blunt object before he was tackled by onlookers Sunday morning.

Haamid Ade Zaid, 33, was booked into Santa Clara County jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, hit and run, being under the influence of drugs and resisting arrest, according to the San Jose Police Department. He was identified as a Seaside resident by police, but a relative said he now lives in San Jose. Complete article

Army officer attacked at Walmart in Albany 04/13/2013

Police: Area woman threatened to shoot Amsterdam co-workers 05/06/2013

AMSTERDAM - A "disgruntled employee" of Walmart allegedly threatened to shoot two fellow employees Sunday, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department.

Cassandra A. Downs, 32, of 1040 University Place, Schenectady, was charged with second-degree harassment, a violation, and menacing, a misdemeanor, according to a report from the Sheriff's Department. ....

Reports were received that Downs had made a "hit list" of other employees. Smith could not confirm how many or who was on the list. Complete article

Woman threatens to shoot Wal-Mart coworkers 05/05/2013

Bomb squad called to Beaufort Walmart after suspicious objects found in vehicles 05/09/2013

Police Respond to Bomb Threat at Walmart 06/18/2013

Bomb Threat Closes Bedford Walmart 06/20/2013

Vacaville, California police shoot, kill man, 21, in car 06/29/2013

Russellville police seek 2 for Wal-Mart bomb threat 07/04/2013

Police Arrest Walmart Bomb Threat Caller 07/10/2013

Cops: Man, 22, Threw Semen On Walmart Shopper 07/11/2013

JULY 11--A Delaware man threw semen on a female customer shopping at Walmart Tuesday afternoon, police allege.

Cops arrested Frank J. Short Jr., 22, on an assortment of charges in connection with the repulsive incident at the store in New Castle. Short, seen in the below mug shot, was booked into a Wilmington jail, from which he was later released on bail. Complete article

Zimmerman verdict protesters attack TV reporter, storm Wal-Mart 07/16/2013

Walmart Employee Knocks Out Store Manager in Break Room Fistfight (Video)

A Walmart employee was caught on cell phone video punching out his manager after a heated argument in the employee break room.

The employee appears to be arguing with the manager about something that happened with a shopping cart the night before.

“Ma'am, don’t take up for him because this man is a racist,” the employee tells a coworker who is trying to diffuse the situation.

“He is a racist, and I am a freaking veteran," he continues. "Nobody is going to stand there and disrespect me for doing what I’m supposed to do!" Complete article

Walmart Reopens After Bomb Threat 07/22/2013

Powell: Store worker claims gang membership 07/23/2013

False Bomb Threat Gets Pedro Man in Jail 07/25/2013

Police Believe Walmart Bomb Threats are Connected 07/30/2013

Bomb threat at Walmart 07/31/3013

Local Walmart receives bomb threat 08/07/2013

Gastonia man arrested for showing privates at area Walmart, police say 08/08/2013

Walmart worker pepper sprayed after asking to check receipt 08/08/2013

Walmart Back Open After Bomb Threat 08/09/2013

Goose Creek Walmart evacuated for suspicious package 08/09/2013

Walmart in Avon Evacuated 08/11/2013

Homeless mom, daughter accused of stealing from Pasco Walmart 08/12/2013

Robber boldly hits bank in Fayetteville Walmart 08/12/2013

Machete-wielding man robs Mesa Walmart 08/13/2013

Man arrested in Walmart parking lot after robbery08/14/2013

Man wanted for attempted strong arm robbery outside Royal Palm Beach Walmart 08/14/2013

Man stabbed to death in Walmart parking lot 08/14/2013

Man takes a cab to rob Walmart store 08/14/2013

Dickinson police investigate possible suicide in Walmart parking lot 08/14/2013

Suspect in Neenah Walmart shooting held on attempted homicide charge 08/15/2013

NEENAH — Police have identified the suspect in the Walmart shooting Wednesday as Justine Boyd, 46, of Greenville.

Police Chief Kevin Wilkinson said Boyd was booked into the Winnebago County Jail on a charge of attempted first-degree intentional homicide. He said both Boyd and the 56-year-old Neenah woman she shot are Walmart employees, and the two were working when the shooting occurred in the liquor section of the store at 1155 W. Winneconne Ave.

The victim, a clerk in the liquor section, was taken by ambulance to Theda Clark Medical Center. Lt. John Karner said she was shot once in the torso. Complete article

Strange things happen at Wal-Mart!!

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