SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - A Safeway worker in San Francisco, who was viciously attacked by an alleged shoplifter and his dog, is now expected to survive.
The 39-year-old victim received life-threatening wounds early this morning at the grocery store on 7th and Cabrillo, but this afternoon was released from ICU and transferred to non-urgent care.
It happened at 12:45 on Halloween morning. Police say the worker was attacked when he tried to stop 34-year-old Michael Pardo from leaving the store.
"The employee of the grocery store watched an adult male walk out of the store with a basket full of merchandise," said Officer Robert Rueca, SFPD.
When confronted, investigators said Pardo stabbed the victim while his dog bit him several times.
The victim is identified as Leo Soto, a produce clerk.
"We're all worried that he might lose his job over this," said a Safeway employee who goes by the name "Julie." She did not want to appear on camera for fear of retaliation.
She told KTVU that despite Soto's good intentions, his actions go against company policy which prohibits employees from chasing after suspected shoplifters.
"It's been a recurring problem from what I know in the last several months. A woman assistant was knocked out by two attempted shoplifters and a store manager was also assaulted," she said.
Sources tell KTVU that neither of those workers reported the crime to Safeway out of fear of losing their jobs. That's because this past May, one worker from the Marina Safeway was fired for allegedly trying to stop a shoplifter.
"Some feel it's not safe because Safeway is not putting a lot of effort into security. With our current security, they cannot be 'hands-on' with a shoplifter," Julie said. "So they can come in, take stuff and leave, and that's pretty much how it goes."
KTVU reached out to Safeway for comment...
A spokesperson said that last night's assault "is currently under investigation and we cannot comment further about it. Everyone's main concern is for our injured employee and our hope for his speedy and full recovery. Safeway employs a number of security measures within our stores to prevent and deter shoplifting. Like other retailers, our shoplifting policy places a premium on employee, customer and even suspected shoplifter safety. We do not provide details about these measures so they can remain effective."
"It's just kind of like, look at yourself, 'why am I working so hard?'" said Julie. "And you see people walking out with tons of stuff every single day and nothing ever happens to em. They don't get prosecuted."