Two grandparents were kicked out of the University Park Mall Tuesday after they took a picture of their visiting grandson in the Food Court.
"We were going to take our grandson, he's five and visiting from California, to see Santa and we were just sitting around the table having something to drink, talking about what we were planning and that's when my husband took the picture," said Grandmother Debbie Cassella.
Cassella said immediately a mall employee instructed them to stop taking pictures or they would be thrown out of the mall.
"I believe she said you can't take pictures at the mall. I thought she was joking and I said ‘I’m taking a picture of my grandson’, I’d understand if I was taking pictures of the architecture or the products in the stores and she became a little hostile and aggressive," said Grandfather Don Oberloh.
Oberloh and Cassella said they were unaware of the University Park's policy against picture taking and requested a supervisor.
"I asked to speak with a mall manager and she flashed a badge at me, and I didn't see it, and asked ‘is this good enough?’ and I tried explaining things to her and she came back, I apologized and she was more belligerent and I asked again ‘may I speak with the mall manager’ and she said ‘that's me’ and I said ‘there's nobody higher than you?’ and she said ‘one person’, ‘may I speak with that person’ and then security came over," said Oberloh.
Oberloh left the mall after being asked by security, but Cassella stayed behind to wait on her daughter, who had gone into a store.
"I told him I can't just leave and then he said that he would remove me physically and then he called another security guard and that guy came over and then my daughter showed up and I said we were just here to take my grandson to see Santa and he said you can't see Santa," said Cassella. "It was embarrassing and I felt bad for my grandson. I'll never go back to the mall. I’ve shopped at the mall regularly and I’ll never go back to the mall. I don’t' feel comfortable there."
A spokesperson for the University Park Mall declined an on camera interview, but said mall managers are investigating the incident and reiterated the mall's policy against photography. She also said the mall does not immediate remove shoppers after a picture is taken, but will remove guests who do not comply with requests to stop taking photos or are aggressive with staff.