Saturday, December 30, 2023

Louisiana Sporting Goods Store Employees Fired for Pursuing Alleged Gun Thief

Three staff members at a sports equipment retailer in Metairie, Louisiana, were dismissed following their effort to thwart a thief who reportedly absconded with a handgun. Michelle Sutton, along with two other colleagues at Academy Sports + Outdoors, recounted that the theft occurred on December 16.

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The sales team, thinking they were close to finalizing a sale, were showcasing a pistol to a customer who suddenly fled with the weapon.

Sutton, serving as a team leader, acted swiftly upon receiving the alert, rushing to assist. "I immediately sprang into action," Sutton shared with WGNO, a local television station. "It was crucial to assist law enforcement in any way possible." Despite their search efforts, Sutton and her coworkers were unable to find the culprit.

Four days later, the store's firearm compliance team dismissed Sutton and her two colleagues, citing a violation of the company’s loss prevention guidelines. These rules prohibit employees from pursuing or physically restraining suspected thieves. While loss prevention staff or managers can approach suspects outside the store from a safe distance and request their return, employees are not allowed to leave the premises.

Sutton explained that their actions, including stepping outside the building, were deemed a breach of the 'front porch' policy. She expressed to the media that, while she now understands the policy, more explicit guidelines and training on handling such incidents would have been beneficial. "Stores selling concealable firearms like pistols must have explicit policies and provide additional training to handle unforeseen situations," she emphasized.

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