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Wal-Mart manager fired after being beaten by shoplifter

Despite the occasional scowl from co-workers, I've never been beaten at work.

Those who regularly confront criminals probably can't say that.

In Alabama, a Wal-Mart manager has been fired for chasing down a suspected shoplifter and getting punched in the face.

Don Watson, a night manager at a Prattville, Al., store, heard a store alarm indicating an emergency door was open and saw a "habitual shoplifter" pushing a shopping cart full of purloined goods in the parking lot.

Forgetting his corporate training, Watson confronted the man, and got into a minor scuffle, reports Watson was able to hold the man until security guards from a nearby office complex arrived to help and police officers arrested the suspect.

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Less than a month later, Wal-Mart fired Watson for "gross misconduct" and not following store security procedures.

A Wal-Mart spokesman said "We don't think there is any amount of stolen merchandise that is worth anyone's life. Associates are trained to follow certain security measures."

Watson says Wal-Mart teaches employees to not chase a shoplifter more than 10 feet from the store but it is a rule frequently broken.

Ten feet isn't very far. At a recent shoplifter's combine, even slow criminals covered that distance in just a couple of seconds.

Watson says he was tasked with reducing shoplifting and was trying to protect associate bonuses. The store's loss prevention officers make their own schedules and were not on duty that night, he said.

The alleged shoplifter was charged with robbery and had more than $1,100 of merchandise in the cart. He had stolen merchandise totaling more than $3,500 in the previous nine days, Watson said.

The man is accused of stealing from other area Wal-Marts stores on the same nights he hit the Prattville location.

If you are an employer near Montgomery, Ala., Watson is now looking for a job in the $50,000-a-year range.

Hey Don, Atlanta police are hiring!

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