Louisiana sporting goods store employees terminated after chasing thief who stole firearm: report

Five gallon buckets at the newest Academy Sports + Outdoor store Oct. 6, 2016, in Pearland. ( James Nielsen / Houston Chronicle ) (Photo by James Nielsen/Houston Chronicle via Getty Images)

Three employees at a sporting goods store in Louisiana were terminated from their jobs after attempting to stop a shoplifter who allegedly stole a pistol.

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."

Sutton said that she and two other employees began looking for the suspected thief, but they were not able to locate him.

The Jefferson Parish Sherriffs Office did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment.

Four days after the incident, Sutton said that the outdoor retail chain's firearm compliance personnel terminated her, as well as the two other employees for their response to the theft.

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

Loss prevention associates or managers are allowed to detain a suspect who has exited the store by approaching the person at a "non-threatening distance" and asking them to step back into the store.

"Because we did run out of the building, even though I and the other associate did stay on the sidewalk, it fell under [that] we left the front porch, as they call it," Sutton explained.

Sutton told the local outlet that while she now understands the policy, she would have appreciated more clarity and training to prepare for shoplifting incidents.


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

Katy, Texas, based Academy Sports + Outdoors did not immediately respond to FOX Business' request for comment.

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