Sunday, November 19, 2006

Wal-Mart says shooting victim will get his PlayStation 3

Wal-Mart spokesman Sharon Weber called Friday’s 3 a.m. shooting of Webster Mass. resident Michael Penkala at the Putnam Wal-Mart “totally unexpected for a rural area.”

Penkala, 21, was shot by one of two suspects who allegedly attempted to rob a line of shoppers waiting late at night to buy a PlayStation 3 video game system once the Wal-Mart opened. Weber said Penkala will get a free PS3.

Weber declined to say whether the Putnam store had cameras outside, but she said if Wal-Mart does have footage it’ll immediately be turned over to the police.

“Right now, we’re focusing on cooperating with the police and keeping in close touch with the family on the progress of the customer,” said Weber, who added the Putnam store’s manager spoke with Penkala’s family Friday.

Weber said a night security guard does not patrol the Putnam Wal-Mart parking lot and it’s too early to tell whether some Wal-Mart stores selling PS3s will beef up their security.

“We’ll look at each incident and make appropriate (security) changes,” Weber said. “We share direction from our home office with our stores and they can decide whether to use third party security and law enforcement.”

Weber also wouldn’t comment on whether Wal-Mart might bare part of the blame for the shooting.

Weber said 12 or 13 people waited for a PS3 at the Putnam Wal-Mart early Friday morning and every customer was able to either buy a PS3 or a get a guaranteed rain check for the console.

Wal-Mart circulars, included in newspapers, advertised the Putnam store would have 12 PlayStations available Friday.

But the store only had six PS3s Friday, including four 60-gig models and two 20-gig consoles, because PS3 maker Sony Corp. distributed limited quantities nationwide.

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