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Wichita Jiffy Lube outlet closes over incident between probationer, customer

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, at 6:19 p.m.

A Jiffy Lube store in east Wichita has temporarily closed over an investigation into an incident last week in which a customer alleges that an employee — a convicted felon on probation — threatened him and hurled racial slurs.

Word of the incident has spread through social media forums.

The customer declined comment when reached Monday, but in social media venues, he has said the employee threatened to kill him and cursed at him, using racially derogatory names.

The franchisee of the service center, at 6025 E. 21st Street has fired the employee over the incident Thursday, said Jiffy Lube corporate spokeswoman Jennifer Friedmann.

The fired employee has a lengthy criminal record that includes convictions for criminal possession of a firearm and aggravated robbery, Sedgwick County court records show. The 29-year-old man is under intensive supervision and assigned to the Sedgwick County Community Corrections program, records show. Mark Masterson, director of Sedgwick County Department of Corrections, said Monday evening he couldn’t comment on the case at this point because he isn’t aware of the details. Anyone under intensive supervision is required to report a firing to his probation officer, Masterson said.

A Wichita police detective has been assigned to investigate the case, police Capt. Brent Allred said Monday. A police report says that the victim, a 30-year-old male customer, reported that two people at the Jiffy Lube store, on East 21st Street just west of Woodlawn, “yelled profane language at him” and “verbally threatened to harm him” after he took his car in for service.

No one was injured, and no one has been booked into jail over the incident, although the case remains under investigation, Allred said.

Friedmann said she couldn’t say whether a second employee had been punished over the incident.

She confirmed that a Facebook page said that Jiffy Lube International President Stu Crum contacted the customer and offered “apologies and support.”

The franchisee couldn’t be reached for comment; a recording on the store phone said it was temporarily closed and referred media inquiries to Friedmann.

She said store hiring practices are up to franchisees.

Reach Tim Potter at 316-268-6684 or tpotter@wichitaeagle.com

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