Goodwill Drops Theft Charges Against Teen Who Gave Customer Discounts
A Goodwill store in Naples, Fla., reversed course today and decided to drop grand theft charges against a teen employee who had given discounts to poor customers.
The decision came four days after the store had fired Andrew Anderson, 19, and had him arrested for granting discounts that totaled $4,000. As recently as today, the store defended its actions saying the money could have been better used on Goodwill's other charitable projects.
Goodwill contacted ABC News this afternoon to say that the organization was dropping charges against Anderson.
"After completing our internal investigation we have determined that the individual's actions were not for personal gain, but rather for the benefit of others," the statement read.
Anderson said in an interview with WBBH TV earlier this week that he didn't know what he was doing was illegal. In fact, he says his actions mirrored what Goodwill stands for.
"I wasn't actually stealing," the teen told the Florida station. "Goodwill is a giving and helping company, so I took it upon to myself to be giving and helping because I feel people deserve it."
Anderson was arrested and jailed on Tuesday by Collier County police, but was bailed out for $5,000 the same day, according to police reports.
"The suspect advised us that he never received any money himself," Officer Chris Marotta of Collier County police said. "[He] was cooperative and apologetic. He admitted to the above actions and wishes to repay the store."
Before deciding to drop the charge against Anderson, the organization calculated that the teen cost the store $4,000.
"The thousands of dollars given away could have been used to fund our programs, including our school dedicated solely for youth with intellectual disabilities," the Goodwill statement read.
Anderson and his family could not be immediately reached for comment.