Police Investigate Flight Sim Players

If you are shopping at Staples, you better not ask about which flight simulation games are the best on the market.

That is what Julie Olearcek, of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts found out the hard way. Olearcek is a member of the Air Force Reserves and was looking for a flight simulation game to give to her son so he could learn to fly like his mom. She roamed the isles at Staples for a while but could not find anything suitable, since most of the games apparently revolved around some type of fighting, and she was just looking for a peaceful simulation.

So Olearcek did what most people lost in stores do. She asked a clerk for help.

Inquiring about a video game is enough to put a Staples store on high alert apparently.

"He was alarmed by us asking how to fly airplanes and said that those games were against the law," said Olearcek, according to The Recorder, a Shelburne Falls newspaper. "I said I couldn’t imagine that, but, because (the clerk) was a little on edge … I left."

Unknown to Olearcek, the clerk called police. A state trooper arrived at Olearcek's home several hours later. He went around back of the house and shined a light in through a set of glass doors. Although frightened at first, Olearcek said when confronted, the trooper identified himself.

"At first I felt like, ‘Wait a minute, this is America.’ But we also have to understand it takes everybody to pay attention," Olearcek said.

Obviously Olearcek was not charged with anything for asking about computer games, but it certainly made for an interesting evening.

Staples made no apology for its behavior. Staples spokesperson Sharyn Frankel said employees are instructed to be alert and to report any sort of suspicious inquiries or behavior in the store. "It’s all about keeping our associates and customers safe. This was out of the ordinary and kind of raised a red flag and (the sales clerk) did what he thought was right," she said.

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