From NRF’s Retail’s BIG Blog: How Apprehending Shoplifters Can Cost Employees Their Jobs

Safety first: Explaining retail policies on employees apprehending shoplifters


Two weeks ago, a pair of Best Buy employees in Colorado tackled a suspected shoplifter in the parking lot after witnessing the man walk by with “a bunch of merchandise in his hand.” While struggling on the ground outside, the suspect pulled a knife and began flailing it around wildly. A store manager trying to calm the situation was cut while the suspect escaped. This weekend, the pair reported being wrongfully terminated from the company and have been pleading their case to the media and public ever since.

A statement released by Best Buy says that their employees are instructed to cease pursuit of a suspected shoplifter once they exit the store. Tackling a suspected shoplifter outside would clearly have been a violation of Best Buy policy. In addition to their failure to follow company policy, the manager injured during the incident certainly doesn’t help their case.

What all retailers have in common is the safety concern for their employees, customers and even shoplifters. While it is difficult to observe a shoplifter getting away, nobody wants to have someone injured for stealing merchandise. Store associates and LP staff should carefully follow their company policy and always exercise good common sense before approaching people who may be stealing.

Click here for the complete blog entry: – Retail’s BIG Blog | Safety first: Explaining retail policies on employees apprehending shoplifters (view on Google Sidewiki)

About Christian Stegmaier
Senior Shareholder

Christian Stegmaier is a shareholder and chair of the Retail & Hospitality Practice Group at Collins & Lacy in Columbia. He is also active in the firm’s professional liability and appellate practices. Stegmaier welcomes your questions at (803) 255-0454 or