, Salem, MA

October 12, 2013

Police: African facial cream dispute leads to harassment claim

By Neil H. Dempsey
Staff Writer

---- — SALEM — Police say an officer intervened yesterday after a woman reported that her friend had been harassing her over $400 in facial cream she was supposed to purchase in Africa.

The Lafayette Street woman reported about 3 p.m. that she had gone to an undisclosed country in Africa the previous month and that her friend had given her $400 for a facial cream “that can only be bought in Africa” before she left, according to the incident log.

The woman said she’d bought the cream, but that when she returned her friend “didn’t want the cream any longer” and demanded her money back. The woman said she “told her that she would try to pay her back, but didn’t have the money,” police wrote.

The woman said that on Monday, as she was walking along Lafayette Street, a man in a car stopped across the street and yelled out for her to come to him, calling her by name. The woman told police she had “never seen this person before.” No other instances of harassment were detailed in the log, and it was unclear whether there was any connection between the man and the friend.

Police contacted the friend, who denied harassing or threatening the woman. She confirmed that she had given $400 for the facial cream, but claimed that when the woman returned from her trip, “she did not have the cream and refused to give her back the money.”

The officer advised the two it was a civil matter that could be pursued in court. The woman who originally reported the incident was also advised to report any future harassment. The friend was advised to leave the woman alone.