Video claiming to show Buffalo Walmart looting during blizzard is over two years old

A viral video claims to show a Buffalo Walmart being looted, but it wasn’t taken amid the deadly winter storm this year.

Since Dec. 24, Buffalo, New York, and surrounding areas received over four feet of snow in some places. More than 30 people have been confirmed dead in the blizzard. 

Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said during the storm there were reports of looting in the city, and arrests were made, VERIFY partner station WGRZ reported.

At least one store in the city was boarded up to prevent further damage. 

There are some videos online that claim to show shocking scenes of looting. One video, in particular, claiming to show a looting scene in Buffalo, has gone viral. The video shows the interior of a Walmart store, with shelves cleared and product boxes scattered throughout the store. 

THE QUESTION

Is this viral video of a looted Walmart from Buffalo in December 2022?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is false.

No, this video is not from Buffalo during the winter storm. It was taken at a Philadelphia Walmart Supercenter in October 2020.

WHAT WE FOUND

In an email to VERIFY, a Walmart spokesperson confirmed this video was not taken in Buffalo, New York, and was not taken this year. 

While this 18-second video does show a ransacked Walmart,the video was originally taken in October 2020. It shows a looted Walmart in Philadelphia’s Port Richmond neighborhood. 

According to local reports from 2020, several businesses were looted amid protests following the officer-involved shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. 

The Walmart Supercenter is located near the intersection of Castor and Aramingo avenues, and Philadelphia Police on Oct. 27, 2020, confirmed there was looting in the area.

Using video and photo forensics tools to confirm the location of the looted Walmart, VERIFY found a video from the same Walmart posted by photographer and independent journalist Brendan Gutenschwager on Oct. 28, 2020. According to the YouTube description, Gutenschwager took the video on Oct. 27.

VERIFY matched objects in each video, the one posted in 2020 and the video posted in December 2022, and confirmed they show the same location and the same looting scene. Gutenschwager also confirmed to VERIFY the videos are from the same event. 

For example, at the beginning of the viral video, Sterilite boxes can be seen opened and pricing signs are in the background, with prices of $15.97, $19.97 and $4.97 clearly visible. The same boxes and pricing signs can be seen at the 1:45 mark of Gutenschwager’s 2020 video from Philadelphia. 

At 15 seconds into the viral video, a price sign for $5.97 can be seen enclosed in a white cage-like structure in the middle of the aisle. The same sign and aisle can be seen at the 1:41-second mark in the video posted in October 2020. 

Gutenschwager also posted several other shorter clips from inside the store to his Twitter account

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texasstandard.news contributed to this report.

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