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A sporting goods store in the Greater New Orleans area is facing criticism after recently terminating three employees who claim they ran after a man for shoplifting a firearm.
According to WGNO, an apparent firearm sales transaction turned into a foot pursuit after the alleged shoplifter fled with the pistol from Academy Sports and Outdoors in Metairie, Louisiana. The incident on December 16 cost the workers their jobs after the company deemed they mishandled the situation.
Michelle Sutton, fired from her team lead position after she chased the suspect, blasted Academy for having no clear policy on how staff should deal with store thiefs.
“There’s no clarification on getting [the suspect’s] location for police,” Sutton told WGNO. “I know my store director had said that they want you to be able to get the make and model of a vehicle, you know, maybe a direction in which way the vehicle went.”
“Every store that sells firearms, especially pistols that are concealable, need to have clear policy,” she added. “They need to have extra training. They need to prepare for the unexpected.”
Social media critics were quick to slam the store’s decision.
“I am not going support a company that penalizes the good Samaritans and awards criminals,” said former journalist Justin Bryan Galloway.
“What a cowardly, unAmerican way to treat three employees who were only looking to help their employer,” another X user chimed in.
Academy did not respond to WGNO’s request for comment, the outlet noted. And Fox News Digital did not receive further information from local police.
Other staff, who were also allegedly fired for chasing after the gun thief that day, remained unidentified in initial news reports.
According to the New York Post, a similar situation occurred in July when a Colorado grocery store employee lost his job over recording shoplifters stealing $500 worth of laundry detergent. The worker was “alerted to a possible shoplifting in progress and was told by the store’s person in charge to get a picture of the license plate and immediately ran out of the store,” The Post explains. “A week later the store terminated his employment.”
And in June, two Atlantia-area employees were let go for chasing after masked men stealing from their Lululemon store. The clothing company’s CEO Calvin McDonald stood by the decision to terminate staff who “knowingly broke the policy” and “engaged with the thieves,” NBC reports.