A video was posted on YouTube on March 29th that is said to show a suspected shoplifter being restrained by Bartell's loss prevention officers. When the man accused of stealing resisted, a bystander intervened and repeatedly punched the man. And as is now common, the episode was captured on a cell phone video.
KIRO 7 reported on the video Monday. The shaky clip shows the suspected shoplifter being restrained by Bartell employees. A bystander attempted to assist the employees and then repeatedly punched the suspect in the ribs when the suspect resisted the Bartell employees.
“I was scared for the guy, the guy who was getting beat up. He was calling out for help,” said Musa Uke, the man who shot the cell phone video.
Uke posted the video to YouTube and wrote on the post: “A suspected thief getting beat down by Bartell Drugs employs and there undercover security guards all cause the kid stole some toothbrush, was this the right amount of force to be used you decide.....”
But as KIRO later found out, the man doing the hitting was not a Bartell employee but a bystander that intervened.
The man was suspected of putting a $150 toothbrush down his pants. When he was approached by Bartell's employees he ran outside.
“They pursued him out the store, as they’re trained to do, and they went to restrain him,” said Theron Andrews, the marketing vice president for Bartell Drugs.
“Our loss prevention team actually asked him to step away and not get involved because they had (the suspect) well in hand,” Andrews told KIRO 7. “We obviously don’t condone that, and we didn’t ask for or need his particular help at that point.”
Businesses in the Lake City area have been struggling against shoplifters recently. Tweedy & Popp Ace Hardware recently posted a wall of shame that shows suspected shoplifters captured by their security cameras.
Grocery Outlet has struggled with shoplifting with one representative saying at a community meeting that they are losing tens of thousands of dollars a quarter to shoplifting.
Earlier in the week another citizen intervened in a pursuit of a suspect by a Seattle Police officer in Lake City. The man was commended by the department for his action.
The video of the incident at Bartell Drugs can be seen below: