MOOSE LAKE (AP) -- The state has imposed a $50,000 fine on the Moose Lake convenience store where Katie Poirier was working when she was abducted, saying the store failed to protect her "from exposure to violent acts."
The Department of Labor and Industry's Occupational Safety and Health Division fined Cap-Trico Oil and Propane Cooperative, which owns DJ's Expressway Conoco, earlier this month. The company is contesting the violations.
The agency, which acts as the Minnesota arm of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, ordered the company to have a security inspection done by a qualified professional "crime prevention practitioner," and to train employees on how to protect themselves.
Poirier, of Barnum, was 19 when she was abducted May 26, 1999. She was never found, and earlier this year Donald Blom, 51, Richfield, was convicted of kidnapping and killing her and burning her body on his Moose Lake vacation property.
The inspection must focus on whether the store needs to install a protective barrier around employees, keep two or more workers on duty after 11 p.m., and operate with a drive-up window late at night or close the store earlier, the agency said.
The inspection also must address whether the store needs a security guard and a better security-camera system. The company must follow the security inspector's recommendations. The agency said it considers two of the three citations to be "willful," meaning it believes the store intentionally or knowingly violated security and employee safety standards.
"We looked at the safety and health practices of other convenience stores in the area, and we looked at the industry overall to see what the norms were," said James Honerman, a spokesman for Minnesota OSHA.
Cap-Trico, based in Cloquet, has exercised its right to contest the citations to Minnesota OSHA officials, Honerman said. If such a meeting doesn't resolve the contested issues, the company could request a hearing before an administrative law judge.
Honerman said the company has been cooperative throughout the investigation and citation process.
Poirier was working alone the night she was abducted. Her family has called for legislation that would force all convenience stores to protect employees through such measures as having two people work at night.
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