CORRECTION: A previous version of this story said that the woman defecated in two beauty stores in the same week, based on information provided by Wichita police. Police say they have since learned that information is inaccurate. The other incident was reported in May 2020 and involved a suspect who was never identified.
Corrected May 19, 2022
Police say a “poopetrator” who used a Wichita beauty supply store aisle as her personal toilet last week will likely face criminal charges for choices that, well, stink.
The woman was caught on security surveillance video defecating in the middle of an aisle after walking into the Mid-K Beauty Supply at 2251 E. 21st St. on May 10, the department said Tuesday in a Facebook post that not only called for public tips to identify her but also poked fun at the offensive — and smelly — incident.
Police don’t yet know exactly why the woman defecated in the store.
“We’ll have to talk to her about that,” Officer Trevor Macy said.
She was identified less than two hours after the WPD wrote about the case on social media.
The Facebook post itself immediately generated buzz.
“Wichita, we need your help with a… unique case. We’re trying to identify the pictured female, who on May 10th entered a Beauty Supply store in the 2200 block of E. 21st Street and defecated in the middle of the aisle,” it reads.
For social media scrollers who might have done a double take, the WPD reassures, “Yes, you read that right.”
“The defecation was significant enough that 8 wigs were destroyed as a result, and the business would like to know who the poopetrator is so they can pursue criminal charges. The incident was captured on video surveillance, but for the good of all of you we are not posting the footage of the offending fecal assault.”
The department ends the post with an urgent plea for anyone who recognizes the woman — whom it jokingly referred to as “public enemy number 2” — to contact authorities right away.
Within an hour of publishing, the post had already been shared and commented on hundreds of times, with reader reactions ranging from shocked and grossed out to comical.
“Seriously wichita. This is why we can’t have nice things,” one woman wrote, sharing the post on her own page.
“Help bag the poopetrator!” a man who identified himself on Facebook as a bail bondsman joked when he shared it.
“Oh no ma’am! If this would have happened while I was working at the hair store I would have RAGED!” another woman wrote when she shared the post.
“But I know someone gonna ask if they are gonna sell those wigs for a discount,” she said, ending with a laughing-face emoji.
Two still photos the WPD shared on Facebook shows the woman wearing a badge attached to a lanyard around her neck. But the department said on Facebook it couldn’t zoom in and sharpen the images enough to read it.
So it turned to Twitter and Facebook sleuths for help.
Macy said that the May 10 incident was not the first time a Mid-K Beauty Supply store aisle had been used as a potty.
When making a report about the May 10 incident, the manager of Mid-K Beauty Supply told police that someone had also “done this at another store,” Macy said. That incident was reported on May 29, 2020, at the Mid-K Beauty Supply branch at 4610 E. 13th St., he said.
Macy previously told The Eagle the woman suspected in the May 10 incident was also responsible for the mess at the 13th Street store and that the 13th Street store incident had occurred in the same week.
But that information was inaccurate.
“Our detective looked into that, and learned that the incident actually took place in 2020. Apparently there was some confusion amongst employees as to when it actually occurred, and the detective was given several different timeframes when following up on it,” Macy said in Thursday email correcting his earlier comments.
The 13th Street store incident was not caught on film and that suspect was never identified, he added.
For those wondering, the damaged wigs at the 21st Street store weren’t used as makeshift toilet paper.
Macy said the wigs were displayed on a wall behind the woman when she dropped her pants. They were valued at around $200.
They all “had to be destroyed,” he said.
In one Facebook reply on its post, the WPD joked that “this might be one of those cases that sticks with us.”
This story was originally published May 17, 2022 2:10 PM.