Target Fires Security Guard For Stopping Shoplifter

Usually our shoplifter stories focus on being detained illegally or held at knifepoint by a rabid senior greeter who demands receipts*, but Target in Milwaukee toes the line when it comes to dealing with suspected theft. That’s why they fired a retired cop (warning: video) who stopped a teenager he saw stealing liquor for the second time in a month. He told her he’d seen her take rum a few weeks before and asked her what was in her bag this time. She showed him. He called her father. Target fired him because the store policy is that only certain managers can intercept shoplifters. We admire his attention to detail and desire to help, but we’re glad to see a Big Box retailer following its own policy.

Babcock seems like a nice guy, and we hope he finds a more suitable job soon. We also hope that when Babcock was on the force, his partner’s name was Goobcock, because that would make any reasonable criminal have a good laugh.

*Claim might be slightly exaggerated.

“Target Security Guard Fired After Stopping Shoplifter” [Fox 6 Milwaukee] (Video) (Thanks to Nicholas!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Pylon83 says:

    Well, the girl was sure dumb for showing some two-bit rent a cop what was in her bag. Unless he saw her take something that particular time, he had no right to detain and search her. Perhaps they fired him out of fear that his overzealousness exposed them to too much liability.

  2. ptkdude says:

    I’m certainly anti-harassment when it comes to checking receipts and stuff, but when you’ve stolen something and they KNOW you’ve stolen something you should be glad they called your dad instead of the cops. WHY did they hire the security guard if he wasn’t supposed to stop shoplifters?

  3. Alex Chasick says:

    This story annoyed me more than the Home Depot one some months back. I understand store policy and not wanting to endanger employees, but this guy was a security guard; isn’t stopping shoplifters basically their main job responsibility? If wonder if this is Target’s policy only when the shoplifter is still around, and not when she’s running out of the store.

  4. humphrmi says:

    @Alex Chasick: Actually, having worked retail, it is the job of employees and security to discover shoplifting, and take notes as to the circumstances (description of person, car, item taken, how they saw it being shoplifted, etc.) It is generally not their job to “stop shoplifters.” That is the job of sworn police officers, based on the information that staff provide.

    I do hope this guy gets a job. But I hope he better understands what his job is next time too.

  5. B says:

    I’m going to do all my shoplifting at this Target!

  6. ianmac47 says:

    Target sells rum?

  7. bocablaze says:

    Any rum Target would sell would not be worth stealing. Headache in a bottle I’m sure.

  8. IphtashuFitz says:

    So why do they even hire security guards if the only ones who can actually do anything are “certain managers”?

  9. morganlh85 says:

    What exactly is the point of a security guard OTHER than to detain shoplifters?!?

  10. MARTHA__JONES says:

    @humphrmi: Exactly. This is for the safety of the employees.

  11. humphrmi says:

    @morganlh85: Take description of suspect. Take down plates or means of escape. Report said information to the police.

  12. Suttin says:

    @humphrmi: Well I see a solution to this problem. When they hire security guards, train them so they can detain people if the time calls for it.

  13. MountainCop says:

    And act as a deterrent.

  14. redkamel says:

    this is dumb. there is a difference between letter of the law and spirit of the law. The rule is there so every clerk isnt stopping people for no reason, or by mistake. Its also there so jobs are defined. When you have an ex-cop working there, especially as security, how can you bust his chops for this? Maybe take him aside and remind him every time just for show or something, dont fire him. Morans!

  15. Alex Chasick says:

    @humphrmi: I get you, that just seems weird with security guards too. If a store associate and a security guard have the same restrictions in dealing with shoplifters, why not get replace the security guard with another associate who can do retail things too?
    On a different note, when I lived in New Orleans, I was surprised that many/most of the store security guards were strapped. I wonder if their guns are just for decoration (I hope so).

  16. humphrmi says:

    @Alex Chasick: When I used to hang out in the (Pitt) University District in Pittsburgh, all the hang-outs had off-duty cops carrying heat too. I always wanted to ask why, but never had the guts, for fear that I might get a live demonstration ;-).

    It does seem counter-intuitive, but the rules are there for a reason. The courts change the rules of evidence and standards for arrest and detention all the time. Even a retired cop is not getting up-to-date information on new arrest procedures and rules, but sworn police officers get updates every day. One minor mistake and the suspect goes free. The store wants to recover, they don’t want their case thrown out of court on a technicality. Also, as others said, it’s a safety issue.

  17. quail says:

    When I worked retail in the 80’s we were suppose to call security to the area to watch the suspected shoplifter. The rule at the time was that security or the cameras had to catch the shoplifter in the act. Nothing could be done because an associate saw the crime. It had to be security that witnessed the crime. Seems odd that they now require managers to be the one to do the work that security is suppose to do. The only problem I see in the description is that the security guard didn’t wait for the girl to leave the store before apprehending her for theft.

  18. s35flyer says:

    Stupid, the girl was shoplifting. Part of what is wrong in america, we are so concerned about political correctness that we can’t even be who we are anymore, sickening.

  19. dogmaratt says:

    They took this VERY seriously.

  20. bravo369 says:

    I have to side with target on this one. The guy is an idiot for taking a job as a security guard and thinking he actually needs to provide security. You can’t let employees run wild like this. Next thing you know you’ll have cashiers who actually think they need to ring me up. Thanks target for putting your foot down and letting them know that going that extra mile is never a good idea.

  21. jasonkarns says:

    I’m all for consumers and generally as annoyed with companies as the next guy, but I’d like to know when the Consumerist changed its name to the Criminalist? Are you so anti-business that you’d have every company in the country throw open its doors and let the thieving free-for-all begin? Why do people think they have the right to steal and not be confronted by the companies from whom they steal? A business is a private organization, and as such should be legally able to protect its private property (which remains theirs until a mutually agreeable exchange is made– usually in the form of a monetary transaction). Sure it might not be the best decision (or safest) for their employees, but it ought to be their right. If I have a garage sale and someone tries to load up a table worth of my goods, am I supposed to simply watch? Take down his license plate, or help him load his truck? Give me a break.

  22. unravel says:

    I’d prematurely end my Target boycott if they sold booze here, principles be damned!

    I wish stores’ policies allowed a little leeway in this area. I know why they don’t, and I completely understand, but this guy rocks all kind of ass for stopping her. I might not be saying this if there wasn’t alcohol involved, but the fact that she was stealing rum is really worrisome to me (oh motherhood, what hath thou done to me…. “Eat your veggies, wash behind your ears, STOP STEALING THE ALCOHOL!”). The only teens I’ve known who had to resort to shoplifting to get sloshed… were alcoholics :

  23. KD17 says:

    I moved a few months ago and went with a friend to Target to get a TV/entertainment stand. We picked up the box and headed off to the check out. We made it about 20 feet when an employee seen us carrying it and flipped out and insisted we set it down. That they didn’t allow customers to carry heavier stuff, which makes sense I guess once I thought about it.

    She said the security guard had to carry any larger/heavier items to the check out and then out to your vehicle. At the time I thought it was weird that the security guard was the store employee designated for that job.

    I didn’t ask if that was an official Target policy for that position or just something the poor security guard got stuck with.

    We were more amused that this poor 160lb guy had to carry this 120lb stand while my friend (270lb) and I (240lb) had to just watch him struggle with it.

  24. Wynner3 says:

    @Pylon83: You do realize that if it wasn’t for security guards, all the criminals in the world would overrun police forces. The world needs security guards.

  25. jhofker says:

    @ianmac47: All the Targets I’ve been to in the last year sell alcohol.

  26. mac-phisto says:

    what kind of crap-ass pension plan does the delavan police force have that a retired cop is working at target?

    this guy is my hero b/c he called her dad. old school cops rock.

  27. Bill Brasky says:

    Having done security in all kinds of capacities, the most asinine thing for some retailers is the concept of “You are a visual deterrent.” Whenever I’d hear that, it was time to request a transfer.

    @Wynner3: Agreed.

  28. Parting says:

    He didn’t call the police, he called kid’s parents!
    (It’s probably for the best, instead of getting a record, the kid will get a long speech and tighter parent’s surveillance, thus education).

    He didn’t arrest the kid (And young kids/teens tend to be afraid of any authority : parents, teachers, security guards, etc.)

    So the policy, technically, DOES NOT APPLY IN THIS CASE.

  29. betatron says:

    Gotta support the security guard here. He did the right, proper, moral and ethical thing. America would be a better place if more people did the right thing. I’d do it. The rule in the US is kids don’t by liquor. Kids who buy liquor tend very much get binge drink, get shitfaced and kill people with cars , in numbers completely out of proportion to their population.

    You people are overwhelmingly arguing for “look the other way”, and “it’s not my porblem, not my responsibility” and don’t get involved.

    Way to stand up for the right thing, Consumerists! You guys rock!!


  30. Counterpoint says:

    “We admire his attention to detail and desire to help, but we’re glad to see a Big Box retailer following its own policy.”

    If this blog *really* happy Target fired a security guard for stopping a shoplifter?? Wow…

  31. humphrmi says:


    You people are overwhelmingly arguing for “look the other way”, and “it’s not my porblem, not my responsibility” and don’t get involved.

    I disagree. I think most of the comments here that are against the guards actions are saying that he should have let her go and called the cops, not that he should have looked the other way.

  32. MBZ321 says:

    This story is ridiculous. It just shows how pussified stores are now-a-days because of the sue happy society we live in. It almost seems stores do not care about theft unless it is physical money being stolen. Not to mention this girl was stealing alcohol (underage), and could have ended up a lot worse. Hopefully this guy can get a better job somewhere.

  33. forgottenpassword says:

    I worked as a security guard for years & let me tell you….. it s a miserable & thankless job.

    Most every one hates you. Customers/thieves hate you. Management often hates you because they hate paying you for what they often consider a job where you basically do nothing. I have been called “easy money”, “barney fife”, “doorknob-jiggling monkey” …. all by management types.

    The ONLY time you are not hated is when someone wants you to walk them out to their car.

    ANd if you DARE to do your job by stopping someone from stealing & they threaten to sue…. you are often immediately “let go” by management. They drop you like a hot rock to avoid even the possibility of a lawsuit.

    Its a miserable, mindnumbing, potentially dangerous, thankless job & am glad I got out of the industry.

  34. AndyAgent87 says:

    She was 16!
    Hopefully it made some sort of impression on her.

    I bet if this gentleman saw a kid stealing a candy bar he would have contacted a manager and filled out the necessary paperwork, or even looked the other way, but it was a 16 year old girl stealing tequila.

    Remember, he’s got to live with himself. Most kids that age are not smart about alcohol, and knowing that one less dumbass is out there with a bottle of booze is the best part of this story.

  35. forgottenpassword says:


    and I just wanted to point out that I was not one of those ball-busting, gung-ho, power-tripping dickhead security guards (there are a LOT of those in the security industry).

  36. spamtasticus says:

    I’m confused. How did him getting fired help us? Maybe its that I have not been living in disneland long enough or am too dense.

  37. Chris Walters says:

    @betatron: Nah, I think I’m the only one saying what Target did is correct. And I know how ridiculous that sounds, because Babcock did the right and honorable thing and blah blah blah. On the whole, however, I’m happy that companies have rules that prevent me from being stopped any time a security guard decides I look suspicious.

    This story is an extreme one because it’s so obvious the girl was doing something illegal and Babcock behaved in almost a grandfatherly way (I mean that as a good thing). It made the news precisely because it was such a heart-tugging story with a character who gave good screen time, and because in the grand scheme of things his “puishment” was idiotic because he was right and she was wrong. But if we could post more “store overreacts in favor of the customer” stories like this one and less “customer gets screwed by overzealous store martinet” stories, I’d be happy. And at that point I’ll join the crowd and lambast Target.

  38. forgottenpassword says:


    Oh , I forgot to add…. that cops often hate security guards as well, because they often assume security guards are unprofessional cop-wannabes who couldnt become a cop. And because cops get paid very good money moonlighting as security guards , so security guards often take those moneymaking opportunities away from cops.

    There was a local class action lawsuit (that won) against the police commission in the city I worked in years ago because it was found that they were charging outrageous license fees to discourage non-cops from becoming security guards. Cops & retired cops that moonlighted as security guards didnt need a license.

  39. Assimilate says:

    I don’t know about that Target, but the one I work at only AP(Assests Protection), can stop someone. Team Members can contact AP if they see or suspect something, they themselsves can’t do anything. Also the person in AP has to be certified, so even if they are working and they see something they can’t do anything unless they are certified.

    At least that’s what my AP Team Leader has said to me.

  40. midwestkel says:

    Yea, woohoo! 5 finger discount at your local Target! The security gaurds are there to help you shoplift!

  41. Shadowfire says:

    I’ll remind folks that she was stealing alcohol… if she’d gotten away with it, a bunch of people would be pitching a fit because she was a minor with alcohol from a store and they didn’t stop her.

  42. renegadebarista says:

    @Chris Walters:

    I have to ask, and I know I’m going to take flak for this but would you have posted a story critical of Target for not having tight enough security if the girl had managed to steal the rum, and ended up causing an accident because she had driven drunk? Or had gotten alcohol poisoning, etc?

    It bothers me that a lot of the time people on this site go after companies for not bending their policies when it affects them directly, but in this case you and others want Target to go by the exact letter of the policy when by all appearances the security guard was trying to do the right thing. No disrespect intended towards you Chris, just my two cents.

  43. WhatThe... says:

    10 years ago when I worked at K-Mart security was allowed to stop the shoplifters. The only rule was they had to walk out the door without paying for the items. And as a Supervisor I had the ‘pleasure’ of sitting in on way too many of those awkward conversations with parents if it was a kid. I even had to help bust one of my sister’s friends… that sucked.

  44. lordeirias says:

    Impression the underage girl took away from this: the security guards are NOT supposed to care you robbed the place and will be fired if they stop you. As long as you avoid those annoying manager types in their offices you are in the clear.

    Sure the guy should have gotten a slap on the wrist for not notifying the manager (he saw her steal before so he could have called the manager out just in case) but firing is a little harsh and sends a message to the young girl.

  45. Chris Walters says:

    @renegadebarista: I personally would have posted a story critical of Target if they’d stopped and harassed a person for suspected shoplifting. For the kind of story you’re suggesting, I’d only go after it if there was some angle on how extremely negligent the store had been.

    I just don’t think you can have it both ways–you can’t expect stores to have polices that ensure we’re each free to go about our business without being harassed or held against our will by authority figures, and at the same time say those policies don’t matter when “common sense” comes into the picture. Call me a misanthrope, but I don’t trust “common sense” to be all that common or even shared.

    Is it too hard to say that Target is right for following policy, and Babcock is right for doing what he did? The cost of being in that position is you have to follow policy. I think Babcock did the right thing by deciding to, in effect, abandon his job and use the moment to intervene in a young person’s life. I sincerely hope he’ll find a job that gives him more leeway to help people. And I hope Target will stick by its strict policy on how to approach and detain suspected shoplifters. (It’s safer for the store employees, too.)

  46. CyGuy says:


    As a parent, the alcohol part is also my main concern. This girl is 16, and therefore legal to drive. What if she got drunk and then drove a car with a bunch of her friends into a phone poll? What if she drove into a school bus? Stealing alcohol isn’t just a property crime against the store, it circumvents the primary control we have over the distribution of a potentially dangerous drug.

    If MADD or any class-action lawyers are out there listening, maybe you should research if and drunk driving crashes resulted from Target or another big box store’s lax shoplifting enforcement.

  47. @Shadowfire, renegadebarista: There’s no hypocrisy here. There would have been no story if he hadn’t been fired, even if he had followed the policy and something bad happened. She’d still be guilty of committing theft, so the blame would be with her. (And there may be more to his life at Target than he related. Who knows?)

    I will award you a gold star if you can find a story on the Consumerist that complains about an ill result from a store’s most-customers-are-not-criminals security policy. The energy is almost universally directed towards overly-paranoid employees who don’t know the law.

  48. Pylon83 says:

    @Chris Walters:
    Wow. For once I actually seem to agree with you. I think that you’re right in stating that it’s important that stores have policies in place so that they are not stepping into territory that would put their guards in the position of using their “gut” when stopping and searching people. Unless he saw her put the alcohol in her bag, he had absolutely no right to stop her. Unfortunately for her, she was too stupid to say “No, you can’t search my bag.” Target puts these policies in place for a reason: You can’t trust 99% of people to use “common” sense, as most people simply don’t possess it. If you don’t like the policy quit (or don’t follow it and get fired). Target was right here.

  49. @CyGuy: The primary source of alcohol for kids is not by stealing from stores [] . I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not even a significant source. It’s a lot harder than getting it from parents, friend’s parents, older siblings, friend’s older siblings…

  50. CPC24 says:

    Interesting. I’ve never seen a Target with alcohol. All the ones I’ve ever been in don’t even sell cigarettes. However, I have seen a whole aisle of liquor and wine at a Wal-Mart in New Orleans.

  51. @Pylon83: He did see her put it in the bag: both the bottle of tequila this time and the bottle of rum last time.

    And she’s 16. I don’t think she qualifies as “stupid” so much as she A) is young and immature and B) was probably pissing in her pants when she walked in the store. (Sure, she could theoretically be a seasoned 16-year-old criminal, but I’m discounting this possibility.)

  52. @Pylon83: Also, to be clear, I’m picturing her theft unfolding along the lines of one of the following scenarios:

    So I have a “scared kid” bias here.

  53. SOhp101 says:

    Totally sucks to be the security guy–it must be really frustrating to not be allowed by company policy to stop someone yet assume a position that implies that it’s part of your job.

    As for the people who are attacking the anti-receipt checking people, I have to say that a security guard/worker who is checking everyone’s receipt and then acting belligerent towards a customer who refuses to show one is completely different than a security guy who witnesses a customer stealing twice.

  54. ShadowFalls says:

    Apparently Target is fine with teenagers stealing alcohol from their stores. Who needs a fake ID when you can just steal the stuff? This guy should seriously report Target to the Attorney General for allowing teenagers to steal alcohol.

  55. unravel says:

    @Michael Belisle: I don’t think there was pants-pissing involved. The fact she did it twice points to serious stupidity, a driving need, or her having twice her weight in balls. I can’t imagine her being petrified and still going that route when there were other options. Unless she’s like a socially retarded 400lb midget with a hunchback and male pattern baldness… she had other options.

  56. @unravel: You can’t imagine it. I can. Shall we fight about it?

  57. echodog says:

    I think this guy was totally in the right. I understand people having a problem with this guy going against “policy”. The difference is that SHE STOLE the rum and he knew that. What’s the point or hiring a retired cop if he is going to watch some girl steal alcohol and leave with it. By the time he gets her plate # and alerts the manager she is probably gone. What if she gets stupid drunk and kills someone before anything can be done? THat Target policy will change pretty fast.

  58. j3s says:

    Well, I know where I’m taking my shoplifting from now on!

    Congratulations, Target! You just netted yourself a new customer.

  59. Concerned_Citizen says:

    “We admire his attention to detail and desire to help, but we’re glad to see a Big Box retailer following its own policy.” WAH WAH WHAT??!?!
    We are glad that a big box retailer fired someone for trying to keep prices down by actually preventing theft? While most big box retailers’ own policies force people standing at the door saying hello to accost you over a receipt!?!? Insanity!

  60. icntdrv says:

    Looks like dude got axed for copping an attitude with the manager.

    My biggest concern: they sell hooch at Target???

  61. chilled says:

    maybe just take a chaser and sit down in the store and mix a drink for free..might be the next fern bar!

  62. EBounding says:

    So what exactly are Target security guards supposed to do?

  63. DojiStar says:

    So let me get this straight. I can walk into a Target. Load up of target junk. Walk out the door and tell the security guard I’m stealin’ this junk as I walk by him.

    And there is nothing he can do? I can just keep walking with my stolen Target junk?

    Cool. The PD in this city has about a 40 minute response time for shopliftings.

    I’m doing all my stealin’ at target from now on.

  64. @DojiStar: That seems to be the situation. And if I understand the law correctly, the employees of the store cannot legally detain you. So yeah, you can walk out most likely. You might not even get caught. But I wouldn’t show back up at that Target if I was you.

  65. IrisMR says:

    What is a security guard good for when he can’t stop shoplifters? Especially ones he SAW shoplift?

  66. chartrule says:

    here in ontario

    security guards are licenced by the goverment
    (ministry of community safety and correctional services)

    getting physical and how/when they can stop/detain is usually in the contract between the security company and the site being secured

    (working security isn’t a bad way to make extra money on your days off)

  67. chartrule says:

    security guards that are dicks make it miserable for other in the industry – better to treat everyone the same way you’d treat your grandmother/grandfather

  68. Security gaurd’s are often in place as a prevention mechanism. Just the presence of a security gaurd should make a theif think twice about stealing. The same way a secuity camera works.

    I used to work for a K-mart as a “loss prevention manager”. My job was to actually stop anyone who stole things. The security gaurd’s job was to call the police if anyone was in trouble, or if anyone saw a theft.

    Every place is different, and has their own internal guidelines. If this security gaurd was not aware of these guide lines he should of recieved a warrning. If this was a repeated problem, then the old guy goes.

    Lastly, I don’t aggree with the policy. If I owned a buisness I’d let all my employees know it is okay to detain a confirmed shop lifter(no assumptions), however I woudln’t tell them they HAD to.

  69. So I understand all of the legal arguments here, but it doesn’t sound like he was trying to get the girl arrested or prosecuted for the theft. He just called her dad. As for the possibility of her suing for wrongful detainment or whatever one might sue for when stopped by a person who doesn’t have the legal power to stop you, I have to ask – if he doesn’t physically detain her, does that even count? I mean, if she just doesn’t know that she could walk away and is detained by her fear of an adult with a name tag who is telling her what to do, is that him actually detaining her? Maybe she didn’t know she had an alternative, but she did agree to show him what was in her bag, and then she stuck around long enough for him to call her dad. Likely some intimidation was involved, but still, she agreed. Anyone out there with some legal background – are there grounds for a suit like this?

  70. Me - now with more humidity says:

    Our Target in N. Florida has liquor, and the new Walmart has a stand-alone liquor store. It’s a state/locality issue. When we lived in NJ, Trader Joe’s was only allowed to have one store in the state with wine, and no liquor. Go figure.

  71. savvy9999 says:

    Target = common sense FAIL on this one. Their policy sucks.

  72. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    We admire his attention to detail and desire to help, but we’re glad to see a Big Box retailer following its own policy.

    But it’s a stupid policy!

    The “it’s for the safety of the employees” line doesn’t even work here. It isn’t the policy that no one is allowed to intercept shoplifters, it’s that ‘only certain supervisors’ can intercept shoplifters.

    I’m sorry, but what makes the supervisor more qualified to stop shoplifters than the security guard who’s an ex-cop? If anyone should be allowed to stop a shoplifter shouldn’t it be the security guard?

  73. statnut says:

    It seems like everyone is forgetting that he did see her shoplift(granted not this time, the first time).

    “He told her he’d seen her take rum a few weeks before and asked her what was in her bag this time.”

    Seems reasonable to me that he’d stop her. After all, he took down details, she returned, he acted on said details.

  74. vastrightwing says:

    No good deed goes unpunished.

  75. TheBestMaxEver says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: I agree with you completely. It sounds like a retired police officer (HELLO WHO IS MORE QUALIFIED THAN THAT? Definitely not a retail manager) approached a teenage girl and was honest with his questioning. He was obviously concerned about her as he called her father not the police to handle this. An underage girl with a bottle of liquor = TROUBLE. I would liken this to a nurse getting fired for performing CPR on a dying patient instead of stepping aside and letting the Registration Supervisor do it. Maybe not as serious, but similar. Remember when we were kids (Those born prior to 1980) and that is how things were handled? You screwed up – Your parents got called – You got a little whooping and/or grounding. Common sense definitely left the building on this one and I am a little disappointed in Consumerist for applauding Target. Uniformed company policies exist to create drones and accommodate all levels of stupidity in a company’s work force. Some of us out there are intelligent enough to exercise good judgment.

  76. stanfrombrooklyn says:

    I think the security guard should have just told the girl for 10 minutes of “slap and tickle” he’d forget he ever saw her. He gets a little bit of that young thang. She gets to shoplift and go home unpunished. Target gets their booze back. Everybody wins.

  77. Starfury says:

    I’m very VERY disappointed with the comments here. Not a single one of you said:

    But where has all the Rum gone?

    Maybe I’m just expecting a bit much.

  78. aikoto says:

    Firing for a one-time offense of breaking a silly rule? I don’t get it.

  79. Milstar says:

    Wow I’m surprised by the range of responses here.

    I’m surprised that anyone can steal from Target and get away unless a “certain supervisor” is on site. Ironicly in this case they (she specifically) only works 50 hrs out of the business week. Which also means on shift managers can’t stop shoplifters?!?!?

    She was witnessed and willingly opened the bag. I’m sure the front end cameras saw it. Furthermore, despite being in store or out of store there is no way she could claim intent to purchase.

    We don’t really know why she got away the first time. He did witness her so I’m guessing he was following policy that time and not this time (He probably did know store policy and overrode it) While he did break policy a termination is probably a bit harsh. I’d really love to see where policy requires termination for not following the rules to the letter regarding shoplifting.

    We have a lot of farmland here in WI & if something did happen the pitchforks would come out against Target. Most metro areas of WI require liquor sections to be walled off from the main store area including grocery stores. Delavan is a smaller community and that requirement probably does not exist. Those requirements for walled off liquor sections is actually in place to prevent kids from getting liquor because it does happen quite a bit. I worked retail and trust me lots of kids get their alcohol from shoplifting.

    Wisconsin has had a rash of underage drinking accidents recently and a few have resulted in deaths so the concern is very real on his part.

    At least give him some props for a good guy. He could have called the police but choose instead to call her father and not turn it into a criminal matter. I don’t know his entire personal record but I would hope that this was not the only thing that led to his termination.


  80. Japheaux says:

    Was it Capt. Morgan, Bacardi, or good ‘ol bottom shelf Ron Rico? And did anyone check the security camera tapes? Eh? I’ll bet her boyfriend was stealing Coke and Twinkies while she was diverting the security ‘force’.

    Secondly, surely no one is surprised that Target could sell alcohol in Wisconsin. When I lived there in the 80’s we would hit up the local chain-drug store for booze before kickoff on Sundays. I guess this explains why no one really cared why the Packers sucked–everyone was too wasted to know what winning was.

  81. vladthepaler says:

    If he let the minor leave the store with liquor and something happened to her because she was drinking, it’s likely some asshole lawyer would try and sue him for knowingly letting her have alcohol. So the poor old guy had a tough decision to make. He did the right thing.

  82. Daniel-Bham says:

    Store policy is for security guards not to intercept shoplifters. You are therefore *not* authorized to stop a shoplifter under *any* circumstances.

    This prevents the ‘good’ guys from helping true, but it also keeps the jerks who feel like real men because they get a plastic badge and policemanny uniform to go on a power trip with.

  83. Craig says:

    Good for you, Dean Babcock. I, for one, am thankful that there are still people like you in this country.

  84. Metropolis says:

    @Pylon83: It says he saw her taking liquor for the second time that month. Learn to read before posting.

  85. Thorkel says:

    If they won’t allow him to provide security, then why the hell do they have him there in the first place?

  86. RISwampyankee says:

    @ianmac47: It’s Wisconsin. You can buy alcohol just about anywhere including all the gas stations along the freeway. EZ-OFF, EZ-ON say the signs.

  87. parad0x360 says:

    Its true, Those security guys you see at Target cant really stop you its against policy. The ETL AP is the only one who can detain someone and that guy wears a red shirt like everyone else.

    The normal security guys are there to deter theft, not stop it. They can notify the ETL AP of an issue and then he can make the stop but otherwise Target employees cant do a thing. Its always been that way but they dont tell people that for obvious reasons.

  88. CharlieInSeattle says:

    @Pylon83: If you had watched the story he did see her take it.

  89. bigmac12 says:

    It’s just the “Big Box” way of taking the easy way out…..just like some of them won’t bother anyone taking small cheap items under a certain value.
    This gal was probably an alcoholic and nailing her would be doing her a favor. Her rights weren’t being violated….She’s a THIEF!

  90. MarvinMar says:

    So here is a diffrent take.
    Were not talking about stealing bras, panties, toys, clothes……..
    She was stealing something that is ILLIGAL for her to have.
    The security guard SAW her stealing it.
    If he did not stop her, couldnt her parents have sued him and Target for negligence?
    If he did not stop her wouldn’t that be contributing to the diliquency of a minor?

    Also, as a US citizen, don’t you have the obligation to report a crime you see in progress.

    Isn’t this the same reason you can not leave the scene of an accident if you are the first witness?

  91. Re: why was he fired? I imagine that calling a shoplifter’s parents is also not a part of Target policy.

  92. girly says:

    Couldn’t he just have been disciplined or retrained? Why is it you have to do something REALLY crazy in order to keep your job and just get the ‘retraining’?

  93. RvLeshrac says:


    In many municipalities, actually, he could be ticketed and fined for allowing a minor to leave the store with the alcohol.

  94. Pylon83 says:


    Actually, he said he saw her put it in her CART, not her purse. So, he did NOT see her steal the tequila. Putting it in your cart does not equal putting it in your purse.

  95. newfenoix says:

    I am a former cop that now works in management so let me tell what COULD have happened; if the girl was involved in a traffic accident AFTER leaving the store with the liquor the store, home company AND the management AND the security guard could face charges of allowing a minor to have alcohol and be sued in the process. More and more retailers are not stopping shoplifters for fear of lawsuits. But, they are opening themselves up to criminal prosecution from state and local governments. Plus, the lose is passed on to the rest of us in higher prices. I have been offered several lose prevention positions since I left the PD and have turned ALL of them down because it is a total waste of time to train people to spot shoplifters if they can’t do anything to stop them.

  96. TPS Reporter says:

    I’m sure Target would much prefer for an underage kid to steal alcohol, drink it and maybe drive and kill herself or someone else, then the parents can sue Target for not stopping her from stealing the alcohol in the 1st place. This is a catch 22. It seems he stopped her more for being underage and trying to steal liquor more than for just stealing.

  97. beeryf123 says:

    Target’s policy is that they have an Executive Team Lead of Assets Protection and an Assets Protection Specialist (plain clothes) who can stop shoplifters.

    They will also employ 2-4 uniformed security (Target Protection Specialists) who are there as more of a physical presence. The uniformed employees cannot stop shoplifters for any reason, nor can they accuse anyone for shoplifting. The uniformed employees are also paid 2-3 dollars less on average per hour. Their responsibility is to be a physical presence at the entrances/exits and to perform receipt checks. They also help the plain clothes and executive employees in watching potential shoplifters and assisting during a stop if the apprehension becomes too physical.

    I used to be employed as a uniformed security guard at Target and I was never luck enough to assist in the stopping of a shoplifter.

    What this employee mentioned in the article should have done is performed a ‘receipt check’ rather than stopping for shoplifting. This would have been well within Target’s policy and may have got him in less trouble. ultimately it’s his word against hers and he could have simply said that he saw an item in her possession that Target sells and performed a receipt check, taken the bottle and sent her on her way.

    Target does institute a very stringent policy as far as stopping shoplifters. There must be 100% surveillance on the subject and the employee must see the subject conceal the item and pass all points of sale with that item and attempt to exit. If you lose sight of them for any amount of time you cannot stop that person for shoplifting.

    I agree with Target on this one because their policy is very clear cut on who can stop a shoplifter and what the circumstances must be in order to do so. This employee broke the rules.

  98. UnnaHecteyes says:

    Comment on Target Fires Security Guard For Stopping Shoplifter Well if you think that is bad I was an assistant manager and followed
    a shoplifter to the parking lot trying to get his license plate and
    got fired. Best Buy fired me for stepping off the sidewalk because it
    violated the policy that you were not suppose to pursue a shoplifter.
    The cops apprehended the suspect because I called them and they even
    found drugs on him.

  99. employed says:

    I want to clear some stuff up.

    Target has three types of security guards: Uniformed, undercover, and non-uniformed. The Uniformed and undercover security guards CAN detain people. The non-uniformed employees (the ones who wear red and khaki and watch the camera monitors) cannot confront any criminal. The HIGH THEFT Targets (generally the busier stores) will have a uniformed security officer on duty during store hours. Lake Geneva is not or was not a HIGH THEFT store. Therefore this guy should not have approached or even questioned the young girl.

    Every once and while, if a store recently had a lot of thefts, they will bring in an undercover guard dressed in street clothes. They also can detain people.