70-year-old Home Depot worker fired for confronting shoplifters

A 70-year-old veteran lost his Home Depot job in Texas after confronting three shoplifters trying to steal thousands of dollars’ worth of tools from the store.

Jim Tinney said he acted instinctually when he threw a paint roller extension at the feet of one of the three suspects in an effort to stop them from making off with tool sets last month at the Pearland store, KTRK reports.

“In the Army, they train you to do things like that,” Tinney told the station. “I just automatically went like this and threw the stick at their feet.”

The suspects dodged the obstacle and got away.

About two weeks later, Tinney, who thought the incident was behind him, learned that his altruistic actions would cost him his job. Tinney admitted to the station that company representatives were clear during training sessions not to confront suspected shoplifters.

Tinney said he understood the policy, but still thinks the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.

“I think they could have written me up, reprimanded me, but terminate me? That’s pretty strong,” he told the ABC affiliate. “I’m 70 years old. I need to work. I needed that job. I enjoyed working with customers figuring out what they wanted to do. It’s fun.”

Stephen Holmes, a Home Depot spokesman, said the policy is in place to protect employees and customers alike.

“What I can tell you now is that we have a strict policy that only our trained security personnel can pursue and engage shoplifters,” Holmes told the station in a statement. “We’ve had deaths and serious injury over the years, and no amount of merchandise is more important that the safety of our associates and customers.”

Holmes referenced previous incidents during which employees were bitten, stabbed and suffered serious brain damage following encounters with suspected shoplifters.

“In fact, in just the past 24 hours we’ve had two shoplifters pull guns at two different stores at both ends of the country,”…

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