Liberty Tax mascot Lady Liberty was arrested and jailed in Lancaster, PA last Friday.
According to Larry Alexander’s story in the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal, Joseph A. Shevock, 43, has worked as the local Liberty Tax mascot since the last week in December.
Friday, Lancaster police received a tip that the man dressed up as the Statue of Liberty at the corner of Prince & King streets resembled a wanted forgery suspect named Joshua Dennison.
Police detained Shevock on suspicion of being Dennison. In the process of determining that Shevock was neither the suspected forger nor the one true Lady Liberty, Lancaster police discovered that the Liberty Tax mascot was wanted in Cambria County on burglary charges.
Joseph “Give me Liberty or Give me the Cambria County Slammer!” Shevock was remanded to the Lancaster County Jail and awaits extradition.
Joshua Dennison, a man with the dual misfortune of being wanted on forgery charges and resembling a man dressed as Lady Liberty, is still at large.
“WANTED: your poor, your wretched, your huddled masses… Immediate openings! No background check!”
A bronze plaque on the Statue of Liberty includes the words “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore… Send these, the homeless…”
These words seems to have been quite inspiring to the Liberty Tax human resources department, especially when it comes to hiring Liberty Tax mascots.
Unhappy Franchisee has long questioned the marketing strategy of placing the integrity of a national brand, upon which franchisee livelihoods depend, into the hands of nearly anyone willing to wear a silly clothes and crazy foam headgear. Just because it works for Green Bay Packers fans doesn’t mean it’s a wise move for a financial services company.
Jacqueline Gonzalez, the supervisor of the office that hired wanted fugitive Shevock, acknowledged that Liberty Tax does not require background checks for the mascot job. According to the LIJ, “Applicants supply references, go through an interview and orientation, and then are given a trial run. If they do well the first day, they are given more hours.”
One wonder what would constitute not doing well the first day? Holding the Liberty Tax sign askew? Failing to keep the torch of liberty burning bright?
Is the age of mascot profiling upon us?
The Lancaster police are delighted that they apprehended a wanted man by randomly detaining a Liberty Tax mascot. And they are actively on the lookout for another wanted man who reportedly resembles a Liberty Tax mascot.
It would be natural for law enforcement to now conclude that they should detain and do a warrant check on every 40-something man dressed like a Statue of Liberty.
Liberty Tax franchisees would be wise to do a little extra investigation on their mascot personnel, at least to be sure they have no outstanding warrants and aren’t listed on the sex offender registry.
They would also be wise to pack, not wear, their Lady Liberty costumes when travelling by air.
The age of mascot profiling may be upon us.
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