Employees Fired After Attempting To Chase Down Thief

After a man fled Academy Sports + Outdoors with a pistol, three workers tried to follow him outside to help the police retrieve the weapon, but the company fired them.

The workers were held responsible for violating the company’s policy of pursuing shoplifters, even though the stolen item was an unloaded gun.

Local reports show the theft occurred in December 2023 at an Academy store in Metairie, Louisiana, near New Orleans’ downtown area.

A firearm may be purchased at any of the company’s outlets under specific procedures. Anyone purchasing a firearm can inspect a locked, unloaded gun. They may buy the pistol after filling out a background screening form, provided they pass.

An employee in Metairie handed a man a weapon after the customer requested to see it during the incident on December 16.

The man reportedly bolted from the shop with the gun while team lead employee Michelle Sutton was working.

According to her interview with local news, she and two other workers actively sought any information that would lead the police within the high-crime neighborhood to the thief by chasing after him as he left the shop.

According to Sutton, she and the two workers remained on the sidewalk outside their business the whole time, and they never saw the man after he ran from the store. He has not been found.
Sutton and her coworkers were dismissed four days later. According to Sutton, even though she and her coworkers remained on the sidewalk, it was still considered as leaving the premises.
According to Academy policy, no employee may pursue or forcefully confine a fleeing suspect. Managers and colleagues tasked with loss prevention may approach an escaped suspect from a “non-threatening distance” and “request” they return to the shop.

Sutton voiced her displeasure with what she saw as a murky policy about how to best help law enforcement in cases involving alleged crimes like gun theft, which pose a real risk to public safety.

A report reveals that Lululemon workers were fired last year for standing up to shoplifters, which led to the arrest of the perpetrators. In July, a worker at a Colorado King Soopers supermarket was let go after approaching shoplifters as they were loading their stolen goods into a car.