Giddens Update: January 8, 2003

In an exclusive interview, a spokesman from Wal-Mart today provided the company's reaction to yesterday's announcement that Kansas signee J.R. Giddens will not face charges stemming from a December incident in one of its stores.

(BENTONVILLE, Ark.) Wal-Mart officials only learned today that Kansas-signee J.R. Giddens' case had been "resolved," a company spokesman told in an exclusive interview Wednesday afternoon.

Tom Williams, Wal-Mart's spokesman, said the discount retailer was made "aware" of Giddens' case via wire reports, but refused to elaborate any further due to its "juvenile nature."

"It would be inappropriate to comment on any court action at this time," said Williams from the company's Bentonville, Ark.-based headquarters. "We're pleased to let the courts do what they're designed to do."

However, Williams made several references to Wal-Mart's stringent loss prevention commitment.

"As a company, we take shoplifting very, very seriously," said Williams. "We have a zero-tolerance policy."

Yesterday, Giddens' lawyer, David Ogle told in an exclusive interview that "J.R.'s case has been resolved in a way that will never jeopardize his future. J.R.'s relieved and ready to move forward."

Giddens, 17, a senior at John Marshall High School in Oklahoma City, was arrested on December 19 and had been scheduled to make a pretrial appearance today.

He faced complaints of conspiracy to commit grand larceny, grand larceny from a retailer, concealing stolen property and obtaining property by false pretense.

Security officers at a Wal-Mart in northwest Oklahoma City detained Giddens and three other people after watching them on surveillance monitors, police said.

The security officers told police that a store employee had apparently disabled security tabs on various products and did not charge for them. Giddens and two other people were accused of passing $3,854.63 worth of electronics through the employee's checkout stand but paid for only $40 worth of goods, police said.

Officers later confirmed that all four knew each other.

Even though Giddens' case has been "resolved," Williams repeatedly declined to comment more specifically on the matter, but he did express confidence in the Oklahoma County District Attorney's office.

"I'm sure any more information the courts need to pass on to us as a company (will be done) with this particular case," said Williams. "We will work with the local authorities."

Williams also refused to comment whether or not Wal-Mart will pursue Giddens in Oklahoma's civil court system.

Last night, Giddens played in top-ranked John Marshall's 56-48 road victory over Northeast High School in Oklahoma City and scored 24 points. He was 8-of-15 from the field, including 2-of-5 from three-point range.

He also finished with nine rebounds for the Bears, which are 6-0 this season. Top Stories