A viral video shows a Walmart customer bagging a cart full of groceries at the self-checkout without paying, but he says it's not what it seems

In a video circulating online, a Walmart customer can be seen allegedly bagging dozens of products without scanning them at the self-checkout line. When confronted on social media, the man clarified the matter, claiming he was just doing his job.

Bill Astle was filmed by another shopper at the Green Mount Commons Walmart in Belleville, Illinois, on May 12 as he allegedly loaded several items into a packed shopping cart without paying — or at least that's how it appeared to other customers in line.

Viral video shows a Walmart customer bagging a cart full of groceries at the self-checkout without paying, but he says it's not what it seems
Bill Astle was wrongly accused of tearing up Walmart groceries in Belleville, Illinois. (Photo: X-Video Screenshot/Crime Net)

The 14-second video of the incident has gone viral on the internet, with millions of social media users expressing their outrage at the apparent audacity of the man, who allegedly took the items in plain sight, ignoring witnesses and security cameras.

“This man literally steals everything,” says the woman filming the video, whose identity is unknown. “He doesn't scan anything. So be open about it, look at the screen, nothing rings.”

As expected, the reaction on social media was swift and relentless.

“This is why Walmart is eliminating self-checkout,” said one outraged commenter, attacking the often frustrating process of scanning and bagging your groceries yourself. “That idea backfired for them. Thefts are through the roof.”

Many voices blamed Astle for driving up costs for honest, paying customers.

“This is why the rest of us have to spend a fortune on the little things,” the commentator said.

But Astle dismissed the barrage of allegations, saying people had overreacted and jumped to conclusions about his true role in the incident.

He even went in front of the cameras to tell his side of the story.

“I'm not a thief. On the internet I'm portrayed as a thief,” Astle told news channel First Alert 4 a day after he inadvertently sparked an online uproar.

Astle explained that he was at Walmart, the retail giant's delivery service called Spark.

Astle said Spark delivery drivers use an app to take personalized orders from online customers. They scan the items with their phones as they shop, and the app then bills the customer for payment.

“Everything is done over the phone, so we don’t have to scan a single item at the checkout,” Astle explains, explaining why he bags the items without scanning them like a regular customer.

In other words, Spark employees only have to use the cash registers to bag the goods, which led to a major misunderstanding in Astle's case.

Neither Walmart nor police have investigated the allegations, and Astle remains employed at the store, suggesting he was telling the truth.

As further proof that he had not stolen, he also displayed two receipts from his work in the store.

Astle said he was surprised at how quickly the video of him went viral, prompting some viewers to shout out the St. Louis Battlehawks because Astle was wearing an official team shirt in the footage.

“Please control your fans,” wrote one person, tagging the United Football League club.

Astle expressed hope that the distorting video clips could be removed.

“Ideally, we’re trying to find a way to get them torn down,” he said.

Since the incident, Astle said, strangers have repeatedly interrupted him at work at the same Walmart and asked if he was the guy who stole in the video.

“Customers would say to me, 'Hey, didn't I see you on the Internet? Haven't you stolen stuff?' And then I have to explain to people what I do,” Astle said.

Astle said he was disappointed that the video ended before he could be seen buying a bouquet of yellow roses for his wife. However, the video did show the flowers in the shopping cart at the checkout, further corroborating Astle's version of events.

“If they had let the video run for another 30 seconds, they would have seen that by the time I finished the Spark delivery, I had scanned two dozen roses,” he said.