The incident – which occurred in a 7-Eleven location in Stockton, California – was captured on video by a customer. The suspect, a Black man, brazenly cleared out the store's cigarette section and dumped his loot into a trash can. He wore a dirty white T-shirt, jeans and a blue head covering.
One store employee confronted the thief, but the suspect threatened to "pull his strap" – implying he would shoot the staff member – and continued to loot the store.
The customer filming the video intervened, advising the employees to just "let him go" and wait for law enforcement to arrive. The customer also asked if the store was insured.
The thief tried to get past the employee who confronted him, but the 7-Eleven worker had none of it. The employee attempted to stop the thief and succeeded in doing so, managing to restrain the suspect to the floor. His fellow employee came to his aid, armed with a huge stick.
The second employee then hit the thief with the wooden stick, swinging it behind his back for more damage. Every strike of the stick caused the suspect to shout in pain as the hits targeted his torso, legs and back.
Meanwhile, the first employee snuck in a punch on the thief's upper back. The thief then gave up his heist and voiced out his intent to leave the store. At this point, the customer intervened once more and told the two employees to let the suspect go. The tandem did, but not before the second employee delivered two more blows.
According to the Daily Mail, shoplifting in the U.S. "has reached unprecedented levels." The issue, which worsened during the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, had been characterized by brazen shoplifters walking out of stores with their arms full of stolen items.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) said retail theft cost the industry almost $100 billion in 2022. David Johnston, NRF's vice president for asset protection and retail operations, said of the matter: "These acts are occurring more openly and thieves have become more brazen and aggressive in stealing merchandise." (Related: Grocery stores hiring armed security teams to ward off rising thefts.)
While the two employees at the 7-Eleven in Stockton were lauded on social media for their efforts, two employees at a Lululemon in Georgia received the short end of the stick after they confronted shoplifters at their store.
The two employees, Jennifer Ferguson and Rachel Rogers, confronted the three thieves who tried to get away with stolen merchandise. The tandem also followed the thieves as they left the store, capturing footage of the scene. Ferguson and Rogers then reported the shoplifting to law enforcement, which led to the arrest of the suspects.
However, the two were fired for allegedly violating the sportswear store's "no-tolerance policy." A representative for Lululemon clarified that the termination stemmed from the two "knowingly violating [the] zero-tolerance policy related to physically engaging with the perpetrators, which put their lives and the safety of our guests and other employees at risk."
"We are grateful no one was hurt during this altercation. [Lululemon has] longstanding protocols in place to uphold a safe environment in our stores. No amount of merchandise in a store is worth our educators putting themselves at risk."
Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald later defended the decision to terminate Ferguson and Rogers. He argued: "We take that policy seriously because we have had instances … where employees step in and are hurt, or worse, killed. The policy [serves] to protect them, [and] we have to stand behind the policy to enforce it."
Collapse.news has more stories about rising retail theft in various cities.
Watch the footage of the two 7-Eleven employees stopping the cigarette thief below.
This video is from the Slappy 27 channel on Brighteon.com.