(UPDATE: Leesburg police and Target are pursuing charges against the alleged shoplifter, who police said has been “positively identified as a Fairfax Sheriff’s Office employee,” the Washington Post reported Monday.)

Was a Target security guard fired for reporting a sheriff’s deputy for shoplifting?

According to a Washington Post report, it seems that might be the case.

Dallas Northington had worked security for Target in Northern Virginia for nearly eight years before he lost his job at the beginning of June, he told the paper, and he suspects his firing had something to do with a thieving sheriff’s deputy.

Image via Roadside Pictures / flickr

Image via Roadside Pictures / flickr

On May 16, Northington said he spoke with his supervisor about a man who had stuffed a tube of toothpaste into his bag after paying for other items. The supervisor “didn’t feel comfortable” stopping the man, however, because he”thought [he] was some sort of law enforcement.”

Northington and his supervisor showed the store manager security footage of the alleged shoplifter, and the manager strangely knew the guy and said to wait for him to return to the store.

Eleven days later, the man came back.

“That time, according to Northington, video appeared to show the man with a cart full of items at the pharmacy register inside the store but paying just for about half of them while concealing the cart from the cashier,” the Post reported. “After checking out, Northington said, the man wheeled away and stashed the rest of his merchandise, which Northington could not see, into the bags of purchased items and left.”

Following the protocol he said he’d always followed for nearly a decade at Target, Northington went to the Leesburg, Virginia Police Department to file a police report after his supervisor had called in the shoplifting.

Northington said that on May 30, he received a two-day suspension and the next week he was fired, all for “gross misconduct.”

The alleged misconduct: going to police with security footage without getting the go-ahead from company management.

Image via Dallas Northington / Facebook

Image via Dallas Northington / Facebook

“In my eight years, I’ve never had to call anyone to give out the video or to call police,” Northington told the Post. “I have never seen any policy about contacting law enforcement.”

Northington said he’s considering legal options to try to get his job back, while a Target spokeswoman told the Post, “We have conducted a full investigation and don’t believe there is any merit to [Northington's] claims.”

The man who allegedly shoplifted is no longer working for the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Department, though it’s unclear if he resigned, as the Associated Press reported, or merely retired, as the Post reported.

A spokesman for the Leesburg police said that the alleged shoplifter had not been positively identified or charged, and that, “there might be some extenuating circumstances” delaying the full investigation of the case.

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