Four Home Depot workers in Palm Coast, Florida, were fired after attempting to stop a shoplifter, according to reports.
ABC7 reports Jeffrey Miller, 59, George Ippolito, 56, Joe Spector, 29, and Jazmin Kelly, 27, tried to stop a customer from pilfering an item at the chain during an incident on Nov. 19.
However, it’s against store policy to try and pursue thieves.
“Pursuing shoplifters in the store or in the parking lot is extremely dangerous and risks the safety of everyone, which is why we only allow trained security personnel to do so,” Home Depot spokesman Steven Holmes says. “We’ve had instances of serious injury and even fatality in our stores. No amount of merchandise is worth risking the safety of others.”
Kelly said to WKMG that they were never told by Home Depot that employees are not allowed to make contact with a customer’s cart.
“They said I should not have touched the cart, but I wasn’t told that I wasn’t supposed to touch carts. I was always told you are supposed to ask a customer for a receipt,” she says.
“I never confronted this individual,” Miller adds. “Even if I saw him in a lineup I wouldn’t be able to show you what he looked like. All I was doing is getting a license plate (number).”
“All I wanted to do was go to the aid of my fellow employees and help,” Ippocito tells WKMG. “One of our core values we wear right on our (uniform) is ‘Taking care of each other.’ Is it just words?”
“To me, it wasn’t about pursuing a shoplifter. I saw a guy crashing a cart into one of the cashiers and I was responding to her aid. Then he looked like he was going to attack Joe. He started dropping all the merchandise, and then he ran away,” Ippocito says.
The suspect was identified as 22-year-old Brandon Charles Edward Mullins Lowe, who allegedly admitted to stealing about $1,000 worth of tools. He’s now being held in the Flagler County Jail in Florida.