METHUEN, Mass. -- Home Depot Inc. has apologized to a carpenter who was banned by the chain after he absent-mindedly pocketed a pencil sitting next to a cash register. Michael Panorelli, 51, of Lawrence, was accused of shoplifting from the Methuen store last Thursday and banned from Home Depots worldwide. Panorelli was with a client and had just bought some lumber when he used the pencil to do some quick math. He pocketed the pencil and was met in the parking lot by a loss-prevention worker who asked for identification. The worker presented Panorelli with one letter saying he was banned from Home Depot, and another advising that he would be hearing from the company's lawyers. Panorelli took his story to the Eagle-Tribune newspaper in nearby Lawrence, which published it over the weekend. On Sunday, Atlanta-based Home Depot issued a written apology, saying the incident was prompted by a narrow interpretation of its shoplifting-prevention rules. "We will not be pursuing any claims against Mr. Panorelli for this incident," the statement said. "We welcome Mr. Panorelli back as a customer in our stores at any time." But the carpenter said he'll never do business there again. "I have no intention of going back in there," Panorelli said. "Why should I put money in someone's pocket when they treat me like this? I think they took company policy a little to far."