Lubbock family working to clear their name after theft accusations

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 10:17 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A Lubbock family is fighting to clear their name after they were called thieves on Facebook.

Posts on the Lubbock County Mug Shots page included a picture of Anthony Rodriguez and Miranda Arguijo with the accusation they had stolen more than $10,000 worth of product from Academy Sports and Outdoors.

“All of it was lies,” Arguijo said.

The post said Anthony and Miranda used a stroller to commit the crime.

“I don’t take a stroller in the store,” Arguijo said. “It’s always the cart, like y’all have the wrong person.”

Miranda says she and her husband are very involved with a baseball league here in Lubbock, and her husband owns his own business.

She says she’s worried the accusations will affect both going forward.

“It was embarrassing,” Arguijo said. “I’m like I don’t even know who would do this, why they would do that. I had so many baseball parents text me today and were like ‘I’m so sorry for what y’all are going through. We know y’all didn’t do this.’”

Miranda and her husband are already looking for legal representation to see what steps they can take to clear their name.

KCBD spoke to attorney Fernando Bustos about how these cases work.

He says when it comes to defamation you have to prove certain criteria.

“They said something that they claimed was a matter of fact,” Bustos said. “That that statement was in fact false. That that statement was directed about you, and that you suffered damage because of it.”

It gets a bit more complicated when dealing with some pages on Facebook due to protections under the Communications Decency Act.

“As long as that website or Facebook page host is not publishing content,” Bustos said. “As long as the host is not saying these people are crooks but instead it’s other people just posting stuff, and some anonymous person says ‘hey I think these people are cooks.’ Well then, the only remedy under the Communications Decency Act is against the person who made that post.”

While the post in question seems to be directly from the page, the message is preceded by the phrase “from the inbox”.

Still, even if that is the case, it doesn’t mean Miranda and Anthony don’t have one.

Bustos says the victims can file an exploratory lawsuit to find out who provided that content to the page.

“Once they find out who posted those types of statements against them,” Bustos said. “Through that exploratory lawsuit then they can bring a defamation lawsuit against that person.”

Neither Anthony nor Miranda have been charged with any crime.

KCBD did reach out to Academy about the accusations but we have not received a response as of Thursday night.

The posts in question have been deleted.