HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Shoplifting cases are on the rise across the nation, which puts prevention loss officers and security guards at an increased risk of violence.
On Friday a shoplifter in the Buckland Hills mall shot a prevention loss employee at Macy’s in Manchester.
Earlier this year, a shoplifter walked into the front of a store and stole thousands of dollars worth of perfume at Macy’s in West Hartford. On his way out the door full of items, he implied he had a gun to the loss prevention officer.
Former Police Lieutenant Steven Estes said this situation happens more than one would think.
“My heart goes out to that poor loss prevention guy he didn’t expect to be in the hospital…He went to work that day thinking he was going to come home as healthy as when he got there, and he didn’t, and he is just trying to do his job, support his family,” said Estes.
The largest problem loss prevention officers face is not knowing the mindset of a person stealing the merchandise, which becomes incredibly more dangerous if the shoplifter is weapon.
Estes said the second a loss prevention officer identifies a potential suspect, that is when they have to be on high alert. As one does not know how many shoplifters might be in the store or how desperate they are.
“It is a super hard job to do, and that is where you kind of have to take the same attitude that we do, everybody you deal with has a gun until proven otherwise, and if you find one you’ve got another one, there’s always a plus one rule so it is the same kind of thing,” said Estes.
Police say the loss prevention officer who was shot at the Buckland Hills Mall in Manchester is recovering in the hospital.