CLAIM

A video shows bystanders at Walmart doing nothing to intervene when a man experiencing a seizure is robbed of his wallet.

MIXTURE

RATING

MIXTURE

WHAT'S TRUE

Bystanders do not try to intervene in the wallet theft during the recording of the video.

WHAT'S FALSE

The video was staged (so no one was actually robbed), and it cuts off before the fake wallet thief leaves the store (so viewers don't see whether anyone intervened after that point).

ORIGIN

In early November 2016, numerous web sites began reporting on a video purportedly shot at a Walmart store in Philadelphia that appears to show a man falling to the ground and suffering a seizure, while another man moves in, takes a wallet from the victim’s pants pocket, and casually strolls away with no interference from onlookers:

The video was posted on YouTube on 8 August 2016 by Chris Mendez, who also compiled videos of the same stunt being repeated in different locations. The seizures and the theft are clearly staged, with the same man playing the part of the wallet thief in each incident. In one video, posted 22 September 2016, the man who took the wallet also got tackled by an outraged bystander:

Several tabloids picked up on the video and ran stories about it, with some asserting that the stunt was a social experiment intended to gauge how people would react to the presented scenario:

But the incident is a set-up designed to test how people react to a blatant crime — and the result is shocking.

Not one person intervenes to stop the ‘thief’ as he coolly walks out of the shop having just pick-pocketed the apparent victim.

The shocking stunt has raised questions over the public’s ability to turn a blind eye to crime.

The video shown above cuts off before the man who pilfered the wallet exited the store, so it’s unclear whether or not anyone eventually tried to intervene in the crime aspect of the staged event. Nonetheless, nultiple people can be seen coming to aid the man lying on the ground and yelling at the pretend thief, while another can be seen talking on the phone (and possibly calling for help). And since the intent of the thief was unclear, onlookers might have initially assumed he was searching the victim’s pocket for identification or medical information that might facilitate medical assistance.

We have not heard back from Philadelphia police about whether any law enforcement action was undertaken in response to the video stunt.

Sources:

Baker, Neal.   “Shocking Moment a Man ‘Is Robbed While He Has a Seizure’ at Busy Supermarket …”
The Sun.   8 November 2016.

Mendez, Chris. “Man Has Seizure Then Gets Robbed.”
YouTube.

Chan, Emily. “The Moment a ‘Thief Steals a Wallet’ From a Man Lying on the Floor ‘Having a Seizure’ and NO ONE Stops Him in Social Experiment Video to Test the Public’s Reaction.”
The Daily Mail. 8 November 2016.