November 21, 2005
Home Depot Apologizes to Pencil Thief
METHUEN, Mass. (AP) -- Home Depot Inc. apologized to a carpenter who
was banned by the chain worldwide after he absent-mindedly pocketed a
pencil he had used up to do some quick math.
Michael Panorelli, 51, of Lawrence, was accused of shoplifting from the
Methuen store last Thursday and banned from Home Depots.
Panorelli was with a client and had just bought some lumber when the
client picked up the pencil sitting next to a cash register for
Panorelli to use. Panorelli pocketed the pencil and was met in the
parking lot by a worker who asked for identification.
The worker presented Panorelli with one letter saying he was banned
from Home Depot, and another advising that he would be hearing from the
Panorelli took his story to the Eagle-Tribune newspaper in Lawrence,
which published it over the weekend.
On Sunday, Atlanta-based Home Depot issued a written apology, saying
the incident was prompted by a narrow interpretation of its
"We will not be pursuing any claims against Mr. Panorelli for this
incident," the statement said. "We welcome Mr. Panorelli back as a
customer in our stores at any time."
But the carpenter said he had no intention of doing business there
again, adding, "Why should I put money in someone's pocket when they
treat me like this?"