Many retailers have strict policies when it comes to physical altercations with suspected shoplifters. These policies do not allow employees to physically restrain or otherwise prevent a suspected shoplifter from fleeing the premises. While this can be frustrating to people who would prefer to stop a theft in the process, these policies potentially prevent needless injury to the employees of the store; injuries that are often far more expensive than the goods being illicitly hustled out the front door.
That does not seem to be the policy at grocery discounter Save-A Lot. Police were called to their Deland, Florida location because a manager was trying to save-a-lot of purloined meat. He and a customer had pinned a man to the ground who it turns out had an enormous amount of meat in his pants.
Believe it or not, this story only goes downhill from here. You know you are in trouble when the phrase “an enormous amount of meat in his pants” represents the intellectual high point of a conversation.
The suspect was struggling to free himself as officers arrived, and he did so by wriggling out of his clothes. As he did so, four packs of ribeye steaks valued at $41.24 scattered out of his pants onto the floor. When police arrived, they found him running out of the store completely naked, and when he refused to stop, they shot him with a Taser. Officers also reported seeing “coupon books and packs of meat scattered on the store’s floor.”
Now, why would he steal steaks if he had a coupon? Seems like a silly decision to me.
The store manager apparently told police that the suspect was a “regular shoplifter” at the store. I didn’t know they had a recognition program for frequent thefts. Other shoppers in the store reported they saw him stuffing meat in his pants, so the manager took action to stop him. I am guessing the man’s Shoplifting Loyalty privileges were terminated at that point.
The man was charged with resisting an officer without violence, resisting a store employee while committing a theft and first-degree petty theft. Unfortunately for our wayward miscreant, he was taken to a hospital “after it was discovered that a Taser prong struck him in the genitals.”
Ouch. Talk about a tenderizer. I hope he prefers his meat well done.
It is fortunate that no one was hurt in this incident. Well, no employees were hurt. And the prison choir may have just had a new Falsetto join their ranks. The potentially sad part of this story is that some poor schlub might have bought those ribeye’s if they were re-shelved after the incident. Thank God for styrene packaging.
But seriously, how bad could it have been? Consider these facts courtesy of FaceFirst.com:
WORKPLACE VIOLENCE STATISTICS
- 424 violent deaths in retail locations in 2017. (Source: D&D Daily)
- 2018 saw a 12% increase in violent deaths over 2017. (Source: D&D Daily)
- Wednesday is the most violent and deadly days in retail. (Source: D&D Daily)
- Criminal acts in retail stores were up 11% in 2018 over 2017 (Source: D&D Daily)
- 40% of retail deaths happen in the store itself while 53% occur outside the store (Source: D&D Daily)
- 32% of workplace fatalities occurred while working in a retail store. (Source: National Center for Victims of Crime)
- 56% of government employee workplace violence is against law enforcement and security employees. (Source: National Center for Victims of Crime)
- 26.3% of workplace homicide victims work in sales/retail. (Source: National Center for Victims of Crime)
All things considered, the risks could far outweigh the $41 in purloined beef. As frustrating as it is for all of us, when it comes to employee safety, you probably shouldn’t try to beat the fleeing stolen meat.