PEARLAND, Texas (WTXF/AP) - A 70-year-old Army veteran has been fired from a Houston-area Home Depot after trying to stop suspected shoplifters from taking thousands of dollars' worth of merchandise.
KTRK-TV in Houston reports Jim Tinney says he was fired last month from the store in Pearland.
Tinney says he was trained to not confront shoplifters and knows he violated company policy, but that his military training just kicked in when he noticed three men carrying tool sets worth thousands of dollars out of the store.
"In the army, they train you to do things like that," Tinney explained.
"One of them hollered, ‘Let’s go.’ And they all grabbed their kits and started heading out. I just automatically went like this and threw the stick at their feet."
It was a paint roller extension pole, but the men escaped.
Tinney figured all was well until two weeks later, when he learned he was fired. He admitted he should not have confronted shoplifters, but said at the time it was just a reflex. Now, he’s having a tough time finding a job and wishes he hadn't been fired.
As for what his punishment should’ve been, "I think they could have written me up, reprimanded me. But terminate me? That's pretty strong."
The Home Depot said in a statement that only trained company security personnel can pursue and engage shoplifters, citing the safety of customers and associates. A Pearland Police Department spokesman didn't respond to a request for comment Monday.