PALM COAST, Fla. (KDKA) — Four Home Depot employees in Florida were fired after helping to catch a suspected shoplifter.
According to the CBS affiliate WKMG, the Palm Coast workers were terminated after they followed they alleged criminal to his car to write down his license plate number.
Company policy forbids employees from pursuing thieves, in part to protect harm to customers and workers.
“We didn’t chase the guy. We didn’t beat him up. We didn’t tackle him. We weren’t trying to hold him,” Joe Spector, one of the former employees said. “All we wanted to do is get a license plate.”
Witnesses say the alleged shoplifter was trying to leave the garden department with nearly $1,000 worth of tools. When an employee confronted him, he reportedly rammed her with his shopping cart repeatedly.
Several of the terminated employees say they ran outside to try and identify his vehicle. When they approached the car, the suspect threatened to shoot them before fleeing on foot. He was later arrested on a prior shoplifting warrant.
One of the employees reported that deputies thanked them for their help.
“All I wanted to do was go to the aid of my fellow employees and help,” Ippocito told WKMG. “One of our core values we wear right on our [uniform] is ‘Taking care of each other.’ Is it just words?”
Stephen Holmes, Home Depot’s corporate communications director, said that even pursuing a shoplifter to grab their license number puts people at risk.