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Big Lots managers reportedly fired for trying to retrieve shopping cart from alleged shoplifter
Image source: KGET screenshot

Big Lots managers reportedly fired for trying to retrieve shopping cart from alleged shoplifter

A California retail store manager says she and another employee were fired after trying to retrieve a shopping cart alleged shoplifters used to transport stolen merchandise, KGET reported.

Though management apparently did not appreciate the women's efforts to save the store's brand-new shopping cart, onlookers watching the event unfold cheered them on.

"I had people, at least three different people out here, applauding me because it happens so much," Lily Oxford told KGET in an interview in the parking lot where the April 5 incident took place.

"So many customers see [shoplifting] happen on a daily basis. At least four to five times a day this happens whether they go out the front door or whether they go out the back door ... at least. Bare minimum."

Lily Oxford, a single mom and former manager at Big Lots, says she and another manager lost their jobs after they confronted the alleged shoplifter in the parking lot of the company's Oildale, California, location.

According to Oxford, she and another manager followed an alleged shoplifter out of the store and into the parking lot, where a getaway car and driver were waiting. Oxford said her intention was to retrieve the shopping cart used to transport 15 jugs of Tide laundry detergent, not the merchandise itself.

Oxford said the store had just gotten 40 brand-new carts for Christmas, but by March, they were down to just five. Further, she said customers are not permitted to take the carts outside. If customers do take them out of the store, employees are charged with retrieving them.

Oxford and a colleague got their chance when the cart's wheel locking mechanism unexpectedly kicked in, causing the alleged shoplifter to have to drag it. When they caught up with the man, they started recording on their phones from several feet away. That's when the Tide bandit ran off and the driver apologized, telling Oxford to take the detergent back.

Whether Oxford and her colleague are heroes or villains depends on who you ask. From a company's perspective, employees going after shoplifters presents a financial risk in that their insurance carrier could be on the hook if the employee were injured. Fifteen jugs of Tide cost much less than paying worker's compensation, for example.

From the perspective of many everyday customers tired of absorbing the higher costs associated with out-of-control shoplifting, Oxford's actions are praiseworthy.

Oxford started a GoFundMe to help her cover rent as she searches for a new job.

Big Lots reportedly declined KGET's multiple requests for comment.

Watch KGET's coverage of Lily Oxford reportedly losing her management job at Big Lots after she tried to retrieve the store's brand-new shopping cart from a shoplifter.

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