A Grocery Outlet employee in Santa Clara, California, was nearly run over by shoplifters who were fleeing with $590 worth of energy drinks. The employee, described as a quiet woman, decided to photograph the license plate of the thieves in an attempt to gather evidence. However, the suspects attempted to run her over while she was capturing photos. The employee took Friday off from work due to being shaken up by the incident.
The incident highlights the growing dangers faced by retail workers in California amid a surge of thefts. These thefts have frustrated retailers and shoppers and sparked political debate over how to address property and drug crimes. Lawmakers are seeking solutions, with a bill by state Sen. Dave Cortese aiming to protect employees from workplace violence by requiring employers to have safety plans. However, language that would have barred bosses from encouraging workers to confront shoplifters was removed from the bill, as it was argued that it could invite more thefts.
Santa Clara police reported that the incident occurred on Thursday when two suspects were caught shoplifting at a business on Homestead Road. When an employee confronted the suspects, they grabbed the worker and attempted to take her phone before fleeing the store. The employee then began capturing photos of the suspects’ vehicle, and it was during this time that the suspects tried to run her over.
The employee called 911 and provided a description of the vehicle. Police were able to locate and arrest the suspects at a nearby intersection. A firearm and narcotics were also found in the suspects’ vehicle. The suspects, who appeared to be women in police photos, were booked into the county jail.
Retail workers, like the store manager CeCe Ruiz, have been advised by police to prioritize their safety and not confront shoplifters. However, some employees feel compelled to intervene. Repeat offenders are not allowed into the store, and in some cases, employees have taken action to prevent thefts. The rise in thefts has led to increased security measures and store closures, causing concern for small-business owners.