Myra Portnoy interview
Tuesday, June 2, 2020 – 10:00 a.m.
Myra Portnoy is an assistant manager of Neilson's Department Store, where Mallory Benson claims Peggy LeClaire purchased a brown linen jacket.
Detective Murphy interviewed her in her office at the store.
- Detective S. Murphy
- Myra Portnoy
Detective Murphy: For the record, could you please state your name and address.
Myra Portnoy: Myra Rose Portnoy. My address is 624 N Lamar, Oxford, Mississippi.
Detective Murphy: Ms. Portnoy, thanks for taking the time to meet with me. I know y'all must be busy this time of year. I promise it won't take long.
Myra Portnoy: Not at all, Detective. I found the transaction you asked about. It's dated May 25th.
Detective Murphy: Thank you. Can you make a copy of that for your records, so we can take the original and go over it?
Myra Portnoy: Of course. Did you have any questions?
Detective Murphy: Have you sold only one of these jackets in the last two weeks?
Myra Portnoy: It's a blazer, and yes, only one. They were very popular earlier in the season, and we were almost sold out.
Detective Murphy: Do you know who waited on the customer that bought the one on May 25th?
Myra Portnoy: Yes, it was me. We were having a sale to clear out the last of the spring merchandise. It was a madhouse, so I had to pitch in.
Detective Murphy: Do you specifically recall selling this jack— uh, blazer?
Myra Portnoy: Strangely, I do.
Detective Murphy: Why do you say that?
Myra Portnoy: Well, I made a lot of sales that day. Remembering any one of them would nearly be an act of God, so the fact that I remember this one… Anyway, I do remember.
Detective Murphy: What about it was so memorable?
Myra Portnoy: Well, she paid with hundreds and a fifty, and I couldn't find my pen. You know the kind I mean? Where you mark the bill to make sure it's not counterfeit? Anyway, I couldn't find the darn thing, and she ended up having to wait while I fished around in my office. I worried I was going to lose the sale.
Detective Murphy: Why? The customer wasn't that interested in the coat?
Myra Portnoy: No, I think she was, but she was in a hurry. She said it several times, so I worried if I didn't find the marker, she'd walk out. Anyway, I found it, and we made the sale.
Detective Murphy: Did she happen to mention why she wanted it?
Myra Portnoy: Oh, just the usual, her present blazer was old and worn out. She'd wanted something nice for a while. The usual justifications that women employ when they buy expensive clothing.
Detective Murphy: Anything else? Any other comments she made that were odd or struck you funny?
Myra Portnoy: I don't know if it was funny, but she wanted to wear the blazer out. You know, cut off the tags and wear it? But she asked me to throw away her old blazer, and I said no.
Detective Murphy: Why'd you say no?
Myra Portnoy: Well, for one thing, we don't have much room for trash, and well, we just don't like to do things like that. We had an incident some years back where a woman purchased a coat and asked us to dispose of her old one, and it turned out there was contraband in the pockets. She was dodging the police—anyway, what a mess. So, we just made a policy about that sort of thing after that.
Detective Murphy: I see. Did the customer buy anything else?
Myra Portnoy: Yes, the sales slip notes a pair of gloves.
Detective Murphy: Anything more specific than gloves? Does it say what color or type?
Myra Portnoy: I think it says moss driving gloves. Yes, that's right. I remember she wanted the really thin ones, the type you wear while driving. Not so bulky as the other types. This brand promises you can pick up a dime with them on.
Detective Murphy: I'm sorry. Moss driving gloves? Is that the brand name?
Myra Portnoy: Oh, no. Moss is the color. It's a dark green.
Detective Murphy: I see. What brand were the gloves then?
Myra Portnoy: Hmm, it doesn't say. It could have been Isotoner or Iodad—that's our own brand—but I don't remember. Both brands make that type of glove and make the same representations about comfort and flexibility.
Detective Murphy: You didn't think it was unusual for someone to be buying gloves this time of year?
Myra Portnoy: I assumed she picked them up because we had them on deep discount. As I said, we were clearing out our old inventory.
Detective Murphy: I see. And did you know the woman who made this purchase?
Myra Portnoy: No, I don't believe I've ever seen her in the store before.
Detective Murphy: Would you recognize her if you saw her again?
Myra Portnoy: I hope so. I wouldn't be very good at my job if I didn't.
Detective Murphy: Would you be willing to come to the station to look at some photos?
Myra Portnoy: Oh, I couldn't leave the store right now.
Detective Murphy: I understand. Maybe later?
Myra Portnoy: I'll be happy to help as long as it doesn't interfere with my work schedule.
Detective Murphy: I appreciate that. Anything else you can remember about the purchase or customer's behavior?
Myra Portnoy: No. As I said, it was a madhouse. Surprised I remembered that much.
Detective Murphy: Thanks. Can I get that receipt to take with me?
Myra Portnoy: Surely.
Interview ended – 12:21 p.m.