Target Worker: I Reported Shoplifting Cop, Got Fired

Dallas Northington says he followed procedure as usual, Target disagrees
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2014 8:40 AM CDT
Shoppers leave a Target store in North Olmsted, Ohio Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

(Newser) – On May 27, Dallas Northington, who had worked for Target in loss prevention for almost eight years, reported an alleged shoplifter to police in Leesburg, Va. But the man in question—shown on two surveillance videos—may be a sheriff's deputy in a neighboring county, and within days Northington had been fired. The 29-year-old tells the Washington Post that Target says he violated procedure (he allegedly didn't complete the right paperwork before calling police) and was insubordinate (he didn't get approval before calling police), but Northington says he followed the same procedure he's carried out numerous times in the past. As for the unnamed deputy in question, he's since retired from the sheriff's office, but has not yet been charged even though past shoplifters were charged within days, according to Northington; Leesburg police say they're still trying to confirm the identity of the suspect in this case.

The first alleged incident took place on May 16, when, Northington says, his supervisor noticed the suspect putting a tube of toothpaste into a bag after he'd already paid for other items. The supervisor thought the suspect was in law enforcement and didn't feel comfortable confronting him, Northington says, and the store manager also recognized the man. They decided to wait and see if he'd return. On May 27, he did, and this time video appeared to show him failing to pay for even more items. Again, Northington says, his supervisor didn't feel comfortable confronting the suspect, so he called police and then Northington went to the station to file a report. A Leesburg officer who watched the video recognized the man as a law enforcement officer, Northington says, and Northington's supervisor later told him the man's full name, which Northington passed along to the Leesburg police. Northington says he's weighing his legal options, and his attorney says they'll "fight Target on this for as long as it takes."

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