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Should You Run After Shoplifters?

An employee at Vons ran after an alleged shoplifter today—should she have?

The Scene: A young man ran out of the Vons supermarket on the corner of Colorado and Figueroa this morning, evidently after stealing something. A female Vons employee was hot on his heels, shouting: “Those are my sandwiches.”

According to our Neighborhood Nomad, Richard Espinoza, who witnessed the scene shortly after 11 a.m., just as he was entering the store, several other Vons employees as well as customers ran after the alleged shoplifter but failed to catch him.

“It happens all the time—it could be happening right now, we just don’t know,” Vons Manager José Cerron told Eagle Rock Patch, adding that the supermarket’s “loss prevention” personnel—security guards in plainsclothes—were not on duty at the time. According to a customer, the suspected shoplifter appeared to be behaving suspiciously before he was chased, and his shirt seemed to be stuffed with merchandise. Asked if the female Vons employee should have chased the man, Cerron said she should not have, evidently because she risked being attacked by the suspect if she physically apprehended him.

Question: What would you have done if you were there at Vons this morning?

Carole Gee March 31, 2011 at 01:26 PM
I think that the Vons employee is a courageous person and deserves praise for her dedication and quick action! More power to her!!!
Donna TV March 31, 2011 at 04:53 PM
So if this "employee" was hurt what would you all be saying???? There are crazy people out there who just steal. Hopefully they leave their guns in their car....... Donna
Carole Gee March 31, 2011 at 05:14 PM
Well, of course, one should always use common sense, and if the thief was waving a gun or knife, the employee should carefully assess the situation before acting. But in this case, it seems like the thief just grabbed some sandwiches, stuffed them into his shirt, and ran off. By shouting, alerting others to the thief, and even running after him, the employee may have stopped him from stealing more items or from trying it again. I'm not sure that I would be brave as she was, but I think acts of courage should be admired, and not diminished.
Ken Camp March 31, 2011 at 09:48 PM
I'll go with Chip's suggestion: rip the store off while everyone is distracted. Otherwise -- no, it's too horrible to describe! Ken Camp, Los Angeles
R Terry April 20, 2011 at 06:14 PM
A little late to this one...but I say follow the guy while carrying a cell phone (hopefully). It would most often lead you to his car (get the plate number) or some info about where he is headed. Then if you encounter a suitable weapon along the way...club the crap out of him...: )

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