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EBT glitch leads to shopping frenzy at Walmart stores

Oct. 14, 2013 at 5:42 PM

SPRINGHILL, La., Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Police in Louisiana said they were called to two Walmart stores when a glitch with the state's Electronic Benefits Transfer cards set off a shopping frenzy.

Springhill and Mansfield police said they responded to the Walmart stores in their cities to help control the crowds Saturday when a glitch in the EBT system, which the state uses to distribute money for those receiving food assistance, led to the issued cards allowing unlimited purchases, KSLA-TV, Shreveport, La., reported Monday.

Officials said there were EBT outages in a number of states Saturday due to a power outage while Xerox, a vendor for the system, was running a routine backup.

The system was back online by 9 p.m.

Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd said one woman was detailed after the limits on the cards were restored for attempting to pay a $700 bill with a card containing only 49 cents. She was released after Walmart's corporate office said it would not press charges if the woman left the food behind.

Mansfield police said there were no arrests at the Walmart store.

Walmart officials said they kept track of the transactions during the outage. They did not say if the company planned to bill those who made purchases over their limits.

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