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Heroic Sprint employees fired for stopping a shoplifter

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Heroic Sprint employees fired for stopping a shoplifter
It's almost hard to imagine that doing a good deed to the community could somehow throw your employment under the bus. Unfortunately for two Sprint employees, they quickly found themselves out of their jobs after aiding mall workers and security officials with a shoplifter. The event occurred at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center where two Sprint employees on their break, Paul Shoemaker and Mike McGee, found themselves in an unusual situation when a shoplifter ran quickly past them with an Apple store security guard in pursuit. After a slight thought about what the shoplifter was hiding beneath his jacket, possibly merchandise or even a baby, the pair quickly were on foot and following the suspect throughout the mall. Eventually they chased him down to the parking garage where the pair quickly tackled the individual – holding him down until security and police officials arrived on the scene. Apparently the individual had stolen $500 worth of software and quickly follows another incident earlier in the month when an iPad customer at the same Apple store had his pinkie ripped off by a criminal.

After the whole incident, both McGee and Shoemaker filled out the appropriate paperwork and were quickly commended by other mall employees on the good job in capturing the shoplifter. Soon afterwards they received emails from Sprint corporate to describe the incident, but to their dismay, they were told that employees should not confront thieves. Without much breathing room, they were both called into separate meetings where they were informed that they were being let go for their actions – citing that it was being labeled as a form of misconduct. The two long time Sprint employees were obviously devastated by the news and had a Facebook page created to tell the story about the punishment they were given for doing a good deed. Although the two are still fond of the company they worked for, they currently do not plan on taking further legal action due to the cost and expenses of hiring an attorney and going through the judicial process. Hopefully the story doesn't end here because the two employees surely acted on instinct and only did what they believed to be the right thing.

source: Denver Westword

Heroic Sprint employees fired for stopping a shoplifter

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posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:46

1. xtroid2k (Posts: 323; Member since: 11 Jan 2010)


I can understad were sprint is coming from; I'v worked in retail before and this is a NO NO on such a high level. Also they were safe in the store and security from apple was already in pursuit. Understanding they acted on instinct and good morals I wish sprint would have approached this more sensitively and maybe suspended the employees for a month with ot pay and some retraining. This certainly won't help 2q results.

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 13:07

4. Kiltlifter (Posts: 742; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)


And this is exactly what is wrong with the corporate world. If you have the ability to do something for the betterment of society and you sit idly by and watch it happen you ARE the problem. Jerks, and criminals and thieves rob and mug and steal because people like you let them. If every shop lifter was afraid of getting their ass kicked by other shoppers for stealing they wouldn't just think twice before doing it, they would think like 100 times. If i was in the store browsing and saw a kid rip off some material and run, I would pursue, and beat the shit out of him. If there was more news of common weaklings, a.k.a. street trash shoplifters, getting beaten up by normal citizens, a lot of petty crime would stop. If someone had a heart attack and collapsed on the floor of the store and these two employees attempted to resuscitate the person would they be fired then for attempting to help? And yes this is the exact same thing, whether you BS corporate lawyers want to admit it or not. Is it worth your life... blatantly NO it is not. But firing an employee for doing their civic duty is corporate bullshit bureaucracy at its best. Way to go corporate America and fire two of the best employees you could ever have.

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 13:41

9. mr. anderson (Posts: 92; Member since: 16 Apr 2009)


except we dont live in the fantasy world you depict. a quick google search will pull up many cases of companies being successfully sued by shoplifters who were injured by employees trying to chase them down, not to mention if the employees themselves are injured. the bottom line is the few hundred in merch isnt worth the legal issues they open themselves up to. now the fact that theyre on break is a little sketchy, but termination for pursuit of a shoplifter is pretty standard in the retail world.

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 13:52

12. fishpower187 (Posts: 88; Member since: 22 Feb 2010)


+1 KiltLifter, there are wayyyy too many chicken-sh!t bleeding hearts out here for my liking.

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 14:12

18. shimmyx20 (Posts: 280; Member since: 03 Mar 2009)


Unfortunately if someone had a heart attack, and the employees attempted to resuscitate the person, they may actually have gotten fired, if they didn't have the proper training! There have been instances where people have sued good samaritans for 'improperly' saving them, causing injury to the victim (even though their lives were saved). http://abcnews.go.com/m/screen?id=6498405 This country has just gotten way too litigious and there are aspects of our judicial system that very flawed.

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 14:56

22. K3N422 (Posts: 10; Member since: 25 Jun 2009)


There is one major problem in this whole story, THEY WERE ON THEIR BREAK!!!! That means they were on personal time, not company time. They acted as individuals, not as sprint reps. Sprint had no business condemning nor even congratulating such an action. Would you expect to be fired for getting a speeding ticket on your way to work? NO. Now, if you were on the clock, that's another story. But the fact of the matter is that they weren't.

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 17:53

28. zerglisk (Posts: 544; Member since: 09 Feb 2010)


This is just very similar to the homeless man in New York City, who tried to save a woman from robbery but instead got himself stabbed and killed. The passerby were just looking at him and even taking pictures of a dying man. No one was there to even try to save him. What a shameful world we live in.

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 22:21

33. elpuser (Posts: 50; Member since: 26 Nov 2009)


People sicken me

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 23:26

35. Kiltlifter (Posts: 742; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)


@ mr. anderson I didn't say employees, I said shoppers. These two were on break at the mall, they were not apple employees. And any lawyer sueing a company on the behalf of a shop lifter should be shot. He is an a-hole and has no business ethics. If that was my brother I would spit in his eye and kick him in the groin for lowering himself to sueing on the behalf of street trash.

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 23:33

36. Kiltlifter (Posts: 742; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)


@shimmyx20 You make a valid arguement... It is true that if they don't have proper training then they can get sued back... But likewise if they do have proper training and they do nothing, they get sued again... it is a catch-22 of the shitty society we have developed. "Don't do anything because we will sue you!" and "WHY DIDN'T YOU DO ANYTHING?! We are going to sue you!" You take it up the @ss both ways in this example. I hate the crappy world we have built and even crappier lawyers have perverted and corrupted for their own personal gains.

posted on 30 Apr 2010, 12:24

41. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


Come on, this is retail 101. If someone steals something, you cannot physically stop them from leaving the store. You can't accuse them of stealing either...especially if they haven't left the store. And if they have left, you still can't call them a theif because it could have simply been a misunderstanding (I've seen people mistakenly walk out of a store with something and they didn't mean to do it). The company is held responsible for things like that. Plus, the employee runs the risk of being hurt by the robber. Sprint and any retail store would rather lose merchandise than have their employees hurt (I'm sure the insurance company likes this too). I have absolutely no sympathy for these guys. A phone is not worth your safty, I don't care how much you love your company.

posted on 30 Apr 2010, 14:26

42. hcbarclay (Posts: 62; Member since: 20 Dec 2009)


@jeffdabeat you didnt read any of the article or any of the posts did you? they were off the clock

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 12:54

2. djroggen (Posts: 10; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Nothing like a little bad PR for Sprint...

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 13:54

13. fishpower187 (Posts: 88; Member since: 22 Feb 2010)


+1 Dj. Sprint sucks as a company. I worked for them, I have the right to say that. Too bad this doesn't get more attention on CNN or FoxNews or some other mainstream outlet.

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 13:00

3. scorpio85 (Posts: 160; Member since: 16 Jan 2010)


It would be stupid for them to go any further anyway. Being a Sprint employee, the first thing that you learn when you start is not to be a hero when it comes to robbers. Give them what they want and let them go. If you really think about it, a person that tries to be a hero could piss off a robber to a point that someone gets really hurt or dies.

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 13:16

5. Kiltlifter (Posts: 742; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)


They weren't being heroes for their store... they were on break at the mall, not in the Sprint store. If they did this on their day off at another Mall would sprint still fire them then? I think this judgment is unfair. Let's put it this way, if this guy was raping a women in the parking garage and they stopped him, would their punishment by Sprint be the same? Crime is crime, and if you have the ability to help and do nothing to are aiding and abetting criminal activity and actions. Good Samaritan laws should protect them from this sort of BS policy.

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 13:36

8. shimmyx20 (Posts: 280; Member since: 03 Mar 2009)


No, two different situations. The employees were on break. Now the article doesn't specifiy whether they were on the clock still on a paid break, or not. But if the employees were still on the clock, the company is still liable for what happens, no matter if they're in the store or not. They need to protect their asses too. Do I agree with this? Definitely not. Theives probably know that ordinary store employees cannot pursue, and they take advantage of this. I've worked retail before, and I've had to let people run out the door with merchandise, because I would've gotten fired if I pursued. If I would have twisted an ankle or gotten hit by a car while in pursuit, the company would have been liable.

posted on 01 May 2010, 14:31

46. iHateCrapple (Posts: 734; Member since: 12 Feb 2010)


Now you say the company would be liable....But do you really believe that? Yea sure you could try sueing them or whatever but then the company lawyers would just proceed to throw YOUR ass under the bus by argueing "it's our policy to train our associates not to do this sort of thing, not to chase criminals and thieves, they did this on their own accord", and of course the decision is left to the judge....who could go either way. This HAS happened before. Be a hero, not a zero!

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 13:23

6. Jeradiah3 (Posts: 962; Member since: 11 Feb 2010)


I would have done what the sprint employees did. sprint should have commended them for tht

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 13:55

14. fishpower187 (Posts: 88; Member since: 22 Feb 2010)


yeah, they should have been commended. Look at my lenghty post below. Sprint is and always has been a chicken-sh!t place to work.

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 13:31

7. easytochris (Posts: 126; Member since: 21 Jan 2010)


i can understand where sprint comes from because since they were on a break, which is more than likely paid, that guy could take legal action against sprint for being "attacked" by their employees. I only see where they come from because our judicial system is flawed. But I support their decision to do the right thing 120% and i hope that they are able to find employment soon because i would hate to see honest people struggling with the current job market because they did the right thing

posted on 30 Apr 2010, 14:28

43. hcbarclay (Posts: 62; Member since: 20 Dec 2009)


actually you have to clock out to be on break...who pays you to be on a break? thats where i want to work

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 13:45

10. ravensfan55 (Posts: 15; Member since: 04 Feb 2009)


Sprint treats its employees just like its customers. Big surprise, right?

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 13:51

11. fishpower187 (Posts: 88; Member since: 22 Feb 2010)


Sprint is pure bullsh!t. I used to work for them prior to the merger with Nextel as a Sr. Retial Sales Rep in San Diego. One night I had a tweeked-out customer throw punches at me in my store because I wouldn't give him a free replacement for a phone that he dismantled. For the safefty of the staff and customers, I wrapped him up in a bear hug, threw him out of the store, locked the door and called the police to report the incident. Two days later, I was suspended pending an investigation (they never even asked my side of the story), and within a week, i was informed that my final paycheck was en route to me via fedEx. F-you Sprint. I sincerly hope Srint fails and their management find themselevs chronically unemployed.

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 14:00

15. Phullofphil (Posts: 800; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)


I think its a messed up thing that the thieves have any rights at all in that sitituation. I understand sprint covering themselves but I feel its it a little harsh too terminate them. I feel that if some one wants to take that risk to steal somthing and run through and possabily injur other people tring to get away then a bruise or a broken arm is not too harsh of a reality check and if sombody wants to do the right thing then its there decision to chase them down and take care of it. Sprint should not have to worry about a lawsuit because they both knew the risks.

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 14:02

16. Phullofphil (Posts: 800; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)


This world is turning into a bunch of wusses ripe for somebody to take advantage of them.

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 14:31

21. easytochris (Posts: 126; Member since: 21 Jan 2010)


not that world, just america. have a problem? sue and we can get it fixed

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 14:09

17. xtroid2k (Posts: 323; Member since: 11 Jan 2010)


Guys, This isn't a matter of being a hero. Like mr. anderson said a few lines up; this is very standard for retail practices. Whether you work for sprint or zales the game is the same. Would I want to take a thief out in the middle and go toe to toe and do some bruce lee S$@t and come out the victor; hell yeah. In reality buisness is buisness and every buisness has a bottom line to protect. If employees just start becomng reckless to fuel there ego's then nobody's really stopped anything. As for the former employee's I wasn't there for you situation and I feel for ya, just remember that every action there is an equal and oppisite reaction.

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 14:28

20. fsjon (Posts: 119; Member since: 03 Sep 2009)


Gotta give you a plus one for mentioning Newton's 3rd law!!

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 18:15

29. Mr.Nice.Guy (Posts: 7; Member since: 13 Apr 2010)


" In reality buisness is buisness and every buisness has a bottom line to protect." IMO part of protecting the bottom line involves protecting and upholding your public image, and on this point Sprint has send a bad message to the general public.

posted on 01 May 2010, 14:37

47. iHateCrapple (Posts: 734; Member since: 12 Feb 2010)


Who said anything about egos xtroid2k? It's about being a stand up citizen and helping where help is needed. The crApple security guard obviously couldn't catch the guy, so....he would have gotten away and tried somewhere else, possibly hurting someone in the process.

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 14:16

19. Rock-X (Posts: 14; Member since: 11 Mar 2010)


Shame on u sprint!!!!!

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 15:22

23. FreddyO76 (Posts: 2; Member since: 27 Dec 2008)


As the story stated, both employees were on there breaks. So basicly they were not on the clock. So how a company can tell you what you can do on your break is beyond me.

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 16:05

24. jeryzkid22 (Posts: 16; Member since: 29 Mar 2010)


Its great that the two guys were able to catch the thief but did they really have to rape him after the capture?

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 16:17

25. dirty j harry (Posts: 6; Member since: 28 Jul 2009)


Just shows what a SHITTY company SPRINT is I wonder if this action is part of the improvements dan is talking about in his add on tv

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 16:34

26. 0157h7 (Posts: 6; Member since: 14 Jun 2009)


You people are so stupid. This is par for the course of all major retailers. Don't blame the companies, blame the legal system that makes it so easy to take companies to court. On top of that companies do not like the idea of their employees getting killed on the job (and even if they were on break they were at work.) I for one had an employee that worked for me get stabbed multlple times for trying to be hero over nothing major. The company has to take measures to discourage such behavior. Oh, and good job phone arena for your expert unbiased reporting.

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 18:45

30. dirty j harry (Posts: 6; Member since: 28 Jul 2009)


that is what we need more DO NOTHING IDIOTS whith their head up their ass then the crime rate would go down WAKE UP TO REALITY

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 16:48

27. Mali Mal (Posts: 35; Member since: 09 Apr 2008)


This is what sprint does. If it was verizon employees they would have been scared and run away from the situation. Sprint employees got heart and determination!! That's why we should be #1.

posted on 01 May 2010, 14:39

48. iHateCrapple (Posts: 734; Member since: 12 Feb 2010)


But your not.... FAIL

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 19:33

31. Gowireless (Posts: 85; Member since: 23 Feb 2010)


lol thats funny sprint employees r like raider fans lol always suck and always mad keep on hateing vzw #1

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 22:45

34. fishpower187 (Posts: 88; Member since: 22 Feb 2010)


+1 gowireless! That is about the funniest association I have heard regarding anything wireless!

posted on 29 Apr 2010, 21:19

32. wade1968 (Posts: 224; Member since: 12 Apr 2010)


when others have just stood by and watched these 2 men stood up for what they believe in. I thank you for being hero's in a time when their are not people willing to stand up and get involved. and as for the bottom line for company's good press has to far out wieght the bad press this article is gonna generate

posted on 30 Apr 2010, 02:01

37. jwsg (Posts: 1; Member since: 30 Apr 2010)


They were Sprint employees. He was stealing from an Apple store. Let AT&T employees chase him.

posted on 01 May 2010, 14:40

49. iHateCrapple (Posts: 734; Member since: 12 Feb 2010)


LOL +1

posted on 30 Apr 2010, 05:54

38. Tim6253AR (Posts: 19; Member since: 29 Mar 2010)


They put themselves and others in danger. They opened Sprint up to possible lawsuits. If they had gotten injured, they would have been trying to collect workman's comp. They were on break, not lunch. That means they were on the clock. I was fired once for sending a text message to an employee that I was having an issue with, while on break. It was a simple, "Please stop talking shit about me." I was fired for less than these two while on break, and I put no one in danger of harm or a lawsuit. I believe a suspension would have sufficed, but I do see where Sprint is coming from. Some people will take every opportunity to take a stab at Sprint. That is shameful. STFU already!

posted on 01 May 2010, 14:41

50. iHateCrapple (Posts: 734; Member since: 12 Feb 2010)


Coward

posted on 30 Apr 2010, 05:55

39. Tim6253AR (Posts: 19; Member since: 29 Mar 2010)


They put themselves and others in danger. They opened Sprint up to possible lawsuits. If they had gotten injured, they would have been trying to collect workman's comp. They were on break, not lunch. That means they were on the clock. I was fired once for sending a text message to an employee that I was having an issue with, while on break. It was a simple, "Please stop talking shit about me." I was fired for less than these two while on break, and I put no one in danger of harm or a lawsuit. I believe a suspension would have sufficed, but I do see where Sprint is coming from. Some people will take every opportunity to take a stab at Sprint. That is shameful. STFU already!

posted on 01 May 2010, 14:41

51. iHateCrapple (Posts: 734; Member since: 12 Feb 2010)


Coward

posted on 30 Apr 2010, 08:20

40. sonisoe (Posts: 320; Member since: 06 May 2009)


i know we dont live in an ideal world, but thats what its all about, fix what's wrong.... and this is wrong.... just ridiculous that people could get "hurt" for doing good deeds... if theres any law that allows people to sue good people, thats crap, and dont use "freedom to do anything including suing good people" as an excuse.... freedom should have limits (some of you may say, if freedom has limits, then its not freedom).... i guess what we're all trying to say is freedom isnt the all conquering virtue, there is "wisdom"....

posted on 30 Apr 2010, 14:50

44. bigdog805 (Posts: 20; Member since: 06 Jun 2009)


I've been in retail for man years and this is a universal NO NO. I'm a big believer in helping out someone in need and would put myself in danger to do so. But taking down a shopliffter for just stealing mechandise from a coperation is no means to put yourself or any others in danger. As mr. anderson said the cooperations would rather shrink out a few hundred in merch then possibly have to pay out millions in lawsuits. If someone was being attacked then yes you should step up and help someone in need. But just an idiot running in a mall with some stuff under his jacket is not enough to warrant you to tackle them especially if you are on the clock or on a break from work. If you are wearing the companies uniform you represent them, so if you violate one of their code of conduct rules you will deal with the consequences.

posted on 01 May 2010, 08:18

45. ErikSax (Posts: 20; Member since: 20 May 2009)


I am a long time Sprint customer and a manager in a public service industry where we handle thousands of customers each day. We would never have fired our employees for the act that was described in the article. I would normally defend Sprint; but I absolutely cannot stomach the despicable actions of the management involved with this firing. Please rehire these employees at once. Sprint...are you really listening to your customers, remember, WE can leave YOU. I really want to go now that I've read this deeply disturbing article. Where are your public relations managers that can "spin" this "wart" in your favor? Please publish SOMETHING positive quickly. I cannot stomach the thought of supporting a company with such an inane, anti-American policy.

posted on 01 May 2010, 15:08

52. phonedemocracy (Posts: 98; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


Verizon has the same policy, and so does AT&T. While firing them was too harsh, a suspension is probably a valid. They broke the rules, the only gray area here is they were on their break. Stolen merchandise from an Apple store isn't worth getting hurt or sued over. Why didn't the Apple security guard use his ITazer on the criminal?

posted on 03 May 2010, 11:23

53. ErikSax (Posts: 20; Member since: 20 May 2009)


I hateth this policy. Fear of fear is too prevalent in corporate America. We should "just say no" to frivolous law suits...and strike firm with boot tip to buttocks of wretched swill that swipest and flee but payeth not.

posted on 04 May 2010, 15:50

54. iHateCrapple (Posts: 734; Member since: 12 Feb 2010)


Please repeat........in modern english

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