Sporting Goods Store Employees Fired for Trying to Stop a Thief From Stealing a Pistol

AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File

In the latest example of corporate stupidity, three sporting goods employees were fired for chasing a man who stole a pistol. Apparently, trying to stop someone from stealing a deadly weapon is against company policy.


This is yet another story in which a major company punishes employees for trying to protect it from entitled thugs who think they have the right to take what they want.

Michelle Sutton, along with two other unidentified workers at the Academy Sports + Outdoors in Metairie, Louisiana, said that the shoplifting incident happened Dec. 16.

The sales associates said that they thought they were about to make a sale and were showing a customer a pistol, when he took off with the firearm.

Sutton, who was working as a team lead at the store, said once she received word on her radio, she immediately dropped what she was doing and jumped into action.

"I just took off," Sutton told local TV news station WGNO. "I knew I needed some form of way to help the police."

Four days later, Sutton said the store fired her and the two other employees for trying to stop the thief. “Sutton said that they were let go due to Academy Sports + Outdoors policy on loss prevention, which states that employees are not allowed to chase or physically restrain a fleeing person suspected of theft,” according to the report.

Sutton criticized the store’s decision in a conversation with a local news outlet, arguing that she and her former colleagues were not properly trained.

“There’s no clarification on getting [the suspect’s] location for police,” Sutton said. “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.”

In this case, Sutton says the suspect wasn’t in a vehicle.


“Every store that sells firearms, especially pistols that are concealable, need to have clear policy,” Sutton said. “They need to have extra training. They need to prepare for the unexpected.”


Clothing company Lululemon came under fire last year for firing employees for violating a similar policy. During a wave of organized shoplifting operations in Atlanta, the company terminated two employees for – get this – talking back to thieves who were looting the store. Even scolding thieves was too much for Lululemon.

The looters had hit the same outlet a dozen times prior, but this time two female employees had had enough, with assistant manager Jennifer Ferguson telling them, “No, no, no, you can march back out.” The looters were undeterred, however, and knowing that they probably faced no consequences in today’s world, simply came back for more. “Seriously? Get out,” the frustrated former employee said.

“Chill, b–tch, shut your ass up,” one of the robbers responds. The women watch the thieves get in a getaway car but never tried to physically intervene.

So why did they get fired? For daring to speak to the robbers, and for calling the police…Which is against company policy. No, I’m not kidding:

“We are not supposed to get in the way. You kind of clear path for whatever they’re going to do,” Ferguson told 11Alive.

“And then, after it’s over, you scan a QR code. And that’s that. We’ve been told not to put it in any notes, because that might scare other people. We’re not supposed to call the police, not really supposed to talk about it.”


These policies, combined with local and state governments that essentially tell criminals they will not face consequences if they rob and steal, are a recipe for disaster. They reveal a disturbing inclination to protect criminals, even if it means punishing their victims or people trying to stop the theft.

Then, the people supporting these policies wonder why the crime rate is so high. Or perhaps they don’t actually care.



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