One of the true facts (as opposed to a false fact) I revealed about myself in my 5 Truths and a Lie game was that I once tackled a shoplifter who stole only a bra. I promised to tell that story, and here is where I deliver. Yes, the story is a bit late, so you will get it on the house.
I was working at the Mecca (shout out to Evil Squirrel!), naturally. It was my first day as a Customer Service Manager after years of being a Department Manager. I was speaking to a customer at the service desk about a situation I can no longer recall. I’m sure that person was trying to pull a fast one on us by attempting to return something that was not bought at our store. Without a receipt. And making a scene. Because customers are assholes like that. I digress.
As I was speaking to the customer about…whatever it was…the store’s Loss Prevention Officer shouted at me from the other side of the service desk. That side of the service desk was where the entrance to the store was.
“C’mon!” he commanded while waving me towards him with both hands. He then bolted for the entrance.
I knew immediately that we were about to apprehend a shoplifter. He wouldn’t have been so animated otherwise.
I broke into a run and followed him through the entrance where he whipped out his badge and confronted an older gentleman with a shaggy beard, unkept hair, and clothes that looked like they hadn’t been washed in ages. The LP officer stood between the older gentleman and the entrance and the older gentleman turned to face him, so I stepped behind the “alleged” shoplifter in case he decided to try a daring escape. Or something.
The LP officer repeatedly asked the gentleman to follow him back into the store, but the guy continually refused his requests. The gentleman wasn’t impressed with the badge, and actually seemed a bit incoherent. In short, the dude was a few fries short of a happy meal.
After a couple of minutes of fruitlessly trying to convince the gentleman to willing accompany him back into the store, the LP officer snatched the gentleman’s wrist and the struggle had commenced.
The LP officer bent forward, and tried to wrap his arms around the gentleman’s waist. I’m not sure what he was trying to accomplish. The, in all likelihood high, gentleman was, to his credit, able to keep the LP officer at bay with outstretched arms on both of the LP officer’s shoulders.
He evidently had forgotten about me.
It took me a second to react, honestly. Every other time I’d ever confronted a shoplifter with our LP officer prior to this moment the shoplifter would cooperate because it was always two against one. FYI, those aren’t good odds if you’re the one.
After my moment of indecision, I snapped back into the moment and quickly realized we needed to get this guy to the ground so he could be handcuffed. Without even really thinking about it, my arms snapped out and my hands grasped the gentleman by his shoulders. I then threw him bodily to the ground.
He landed on his side, but I couldn’t immediately get him turned on to his belly so we could cuff his hands behind his back. The gentleman then began to loudly proclaim his innocence. He didn’t have nothing, except for poor grammar, obviously. While we struggled to cuff him he was able to reach into his pocket and pull out a maroon bra, complete with tags and packaging, and toss it away.
“See? I don’t got nothin’!”
We eventually were able to subdue him enough to get handcuffs on him, but we could only get his hands cuffed in the front after I was able to get a hand on each of his wrists and basically do a push-up on top of him, thus putting all of my substantial weight on him, preventing him from being able to move his arms.
The rest of the story is fairly mundane. He was very cooperative after we were able to get cuffs on him. We took him back to the LP office where we wrote up the paperwork and had a police officer place him under arrest.