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06/06/2007 11:59 AM ID: 62900 Permalink   

Home Depot Employees Fired for Catching Shoplifters


According to a termination letter Home Depot has fired four employees because they "pursued and assisted in the apprehension of suspected shoplifters." An internal company memo forbids employees calling police or detaining/accusing shoplifters.

One of the fired workers says he got a letter of commendation when he helped police catch another shoplifter eight months ago. Home Depot said they will not comment on any personnel matter or this case in particular.

Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes said that letters of commendation are being considered for the men for their assistance in recovering stolen stock, apprehending the suspects, and recovering a stolen car driven by the suspects.

    WebReporter: ixuzus Show Calling Card      
ASSESS this news: BLOCK this news. Reason:
  I assume that Home Depot  
sent a letter of apology to the thieves.
  by: walter3ca   06/06/2007 01:15 PM     
  Home Depots position  
Will be the same as every other company that has insurance, dont do anything that could possibly result in you sueing us.

Had the people turned round and murdered the staff chasing them, hardly an impossible outcome, home depot would be bent over a table for failing to protect its staff.
  by: Gogevandire   06/06/2007 01:39 PM     
  The Depot is Correct  
I worked at Lowes once and this was their policy as well. You can't follow or confront a customer you suspect of shoplifting. While I was there someone loaded a cart with 10 air conditioners and walked out the door.

The policy states that you must contact the manager first. They will notify police and they will arrest them once they leave the parking lot. It is also not shop lifting if you are still in the lot (in the case of Lowes at least).

I am guessing he broke one of the stalking or confronting rules.
  by: Joepa   06/06/2007 02:15 PM     
I have been wanting to buy those stainless steel appliances for a while, now all I need to just walk out the door with them and no one can stop me!
  by: notalentassclown     06/06/2007 02:15 PM     
  with Gogevandire on this  
Food World told me the same years ago. It's a liability if you chase a suspect; who knows what will happen to you. Article reads one of the workers did it 8 months earlier...while i'd be pissed in his shoes, can't say he wasn't warned.
  by: thunderb3   06/06/2007 02:16 PM     
If the manager hadn't gotten to him by the time he got to the lot (what's the liklihood of that from the registers to the door?) wouldn't he have been able to do something had the guycome back to steal more crap?
  by: notalentassclown     06/06/2007 02:18 PM     
  Its a world gone mad...  
lets all play along for the sake of getting along Weeeeeeee!
  by: zmethod     06/06/2007 02:45 PM     
  I worked for a DIY store in the UK...  
And when we caught two guys loading stuff into their car, my manager, a fellow sales assistant and I ran after them. My manager rugby tactled one to the floor and my mate punched in the drivers side window and grabbed the other guy by the collar. We marched them back to the managers office and held them until the police arrived. That's the way it should be done :D
  by: andyt   06/06/2007 02:59 PM     
unless the guys would have had an assault rifle in his truck like they do here in my city, then you would have been shot over a small amount of money. It's just not worth it.
  by: kcking05     06/06/2007 03:41 PM     
  I worked as  
a Loss Prevention Officer for a Super K-Mart, and we strictly enforced the rules that the 'regular employees' are only supposed to report to us if they see/suspect people of shoplifting.
We held regular meetings to tell them NOT TO CHASE, NOT TO QUESTION. It was very clearly stated verbally and in writing that any non-loss prevention employee "assisting in the apprehension" of a suspected thief would be terminated as a direct violation of the Super K-Mart rules. The reason: Loss Prevention people had been specificly trained to work in such matters and had corporate insurance in case an apprehension turned ugly.
It doesn't make sense from the stand point of "Gee, what if a LP is not here and I am, I just let them go?" Well yes Bobbo, you do. Don't lose your job over the $150 TV or three $75 dollar portable CD players.
The best thing a non-LP employee can do is inform the LP's what transpired and try to give an accurate description. That way the LP's will have a basic idea of who to look for and what to watch.
Most theives are repeat offenders and catching them is the LP's job, not the cashier, stock-boy, electronics or hardware personel's job.
Like I would tell a few people I used to work with, I don't know how to ring up a register, so I won't be doing your job any time soon. You don't know how to apprehend a thief, so don't do my job especially because if you do decide to do my job, it will get you fired.
  by: Allanthar     06/06/2007 03:47 PM     
  Same as Circuit City  
Many others have already chimed in on this point, but though I would add that circuit city has the same policy toward shoplifters. They go through it in one of the first days of training and if you think about it really it makes good business sense I mean most loss is of small items like CDs and DVDs and it is just not worth the financial risk of a large lawsuit from a past employee who can claim they were encouraged to chase down shoplifters.
  by: gtg833b     06/06/2007 04:00 PM     
Is this really that common an occurrance? The reason I ask is because most stores I go to hire off-duty cops to serve as security, and I doubt you'll be walking off with appliances past them.
  by: l´anglais     06/06/2007 04:28 PM     
Like a lot of people have been saying, it just makes business sense to not allow your employees to needlessly endanger themselves. I would say that it makes sense even from a personal safety perspective. Whatever property you could save is definitely not worth the potential harm to your personal safety. So while I applaud these employees for doing "what's right", I must agree that that kind of action should be discouraged. Now here's a question... if it doesn't make sense for companies to have employees endanger themselves... what is even the point of hiring security staff?
  by: bane39   06/06/2007 04:56 PM     
To look menacing?

I think the point is these werent security staff.
  by: Gogevandire   06/06/2007 05:06 PM     
  Agree with yall  
Catching a thief is one thing. Playing a hero is another. You confront a thief and you're putting you life in danger. Mabee the thief might win that day, but risking your life defending items in a store is a liability to everyone. You confront them, your putting everyones life in danger. Let them leave, have the manager call the cops, let the police take care of it.

/That said, if he's waving a gun around with hostages and the perfect situation arises, that is a little different.
  by: seniorgato     06/06/2007 05:21 PM     
Agreed about the secutiy staff. They are always a step too late. OTOH, I imagine that they might be able to aid in identifying a potential criminal thanks to video cameras and whatnot. Also if people see the cameras and know someone is watching it may deter potential criminals. It's like having a "Protected by Brinks Security" sticker prominantly displayed on every window... The stickers are more use than the system itself.
  by: seniorgato     06/06/2007 05:27 PM     
  I could hardly believe this was true  
Home Depot has no sales people in the isles so I have to assume the people chasing the thieves were the cashiers? Not good for a cashier to leave their till unattended. With what Home Depot pays I wouldn’t risk a broken fingernail to protect their ass-ets.
  by: Valkyrie123     06/06/2007 05:57 PM     
at Wal-Mart it seems to be left up to their 90-year-old greeters to stop shoplifters. ;)
  by: Lurker     06/06/2007 06:26 PM     
re: most are repeat offenders

If this is the case, then even if the shoplifter isn't caught that day, just catch 'em next time they come in to steal more!
  by: caution2     06/07/2007 01:27 AM     
  It's just stupidity  
To be a 'have a go hero' in a shop lifting scenario. It's not your stock, you're going to be losing no money and the store are going to be pissed off if the criminals get injured as a result so just don't do it.
  by: barryriley   06/07/2007 02:36 PM     
  Wow I somehow feel privileged or something!  
When I worked in the mall when I was about 19. My boss encouraged us to cut down on theft as much as possible. He even said that if someone ran out of the store with merchandise that we were allowed to chase them down. It was kind of fun running down a little kid for something like 20$ deck of pokemon cards or a DVD! Plus it was funny watching the lil' bastards cry like a baby when the cops showed up. Had a couple kids that this happened to. One was maybe about 12 and the other was about 16. Both cried when the cops showed up! Since I was the one that caught them I got to be around and talk to the cops and witness them talking to the kids. I think these kids thought they would go to jail or something. They were really scared.
  by: slavefortheman     06/07/2007 03:21 PM     
  i was with a pregnant friend  
in a walmart store...she was shoplifting (much to my alarm) and was tackled by the loss prevention person outside up against the trunk of my car...they put her into premature labor (5 mos along) she ended up in the hospital for a couple of never apologized, didnt pay for her hosp stay, and the employee kept her job with no reprimand...i told her to sue but she wouldnt..."they were just doing their job" whatever
  by: ladiedragonfli   06/07/2007 08:39 PM     
  Any person  
who is pregnant and shoplifting should know the risks of that. It's her own freaking fault, and she isn't entitled to free money for being a thief and an unfit parent.
  by: Tsume   06/08/2007 12:27 AM     
  I have nothing to lose  
I am sure these corporates couldn't care less about my well-being as an employee beyond being able to sue them, as they pinch every penny from the bottom up starting with payroll.

It seems in certain states of the USA like Florida they have a 'right to work' policy where they can fire you for any or no reason, and hire you without verifying citizenship.

It would be different if you had a spouse, children, or family that cared about you. The little justice we have left is quickly dwindling. I wouldn't want to be a hero, I'd just want to do what is right, what is justice, and what I'm sure most people would want me to do. People shoplifting or doing anything wrong out there should be more fearful that there are people out there like me.
  by: ibcm   06/09/2007 01:19 PM     
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