A jewelry chain in North Carolina refused to allow a sheriff’s deputy to come into the store and pick up an engagement ring — because he was wearing his service weapon, local police said.
The uniformed deputy made his way to the Kay Jewelers in Statesville during his lunch break Tuesday after he got word that the ring he’d purchased for an upcoming proposal had been sized and was ready for him to pick up, the Iredell County Sheriff’s office said in a statement posted to Facebook.
Before he could make his way inside, a manager met him at the door and told him he was not allowed to wear his service weapon on the store’s premises.
The deputy explained that he was in uniform, his marked patrol car was waiting in the parking lot and he’d be violating policy if he removed the weapon while he was suited up for the job, the sheriff’s office wrote.
His explanation fell on deaf ears.
The manager insisted that he return to the store at another time, when he was not armed. So he left, without the ring he had purchased.
“The reaction our deputy encountered is very difficult for us to comprehend, and we earnestly hope situations such as these are few and are diminishing,” the sheriff’s office said the statement.
Iredell County Sheriff Darren Campbell said that the incident is concerning — not just for his department, but for all law enforcement officials.
“If an emergency happens, here’s what you have to expect from an officer: an officer is going to be armed,” he told local station FOX 46. “That’s tools of the trade.”
“What’s the difference if he came in to save him if somebody was robbing the place?” added local resident Melissa Hollar. “And then coming in to purchase something. It’s the same thing.”
Kay Jewelers said in a Thursday tweet that the manager “is no longer employed by the company.”
“Kay Jewelers reached out immediately to the customer and the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office, and we sincerely apologized for the mishandling of this matter,” the statement said. “Our policy is that any member of law enforcement is always welcomed in our store at any time, as a customer or in an official capacity.”