Various forms of crime have been on the upswing in communities nationwide over the past several years, with retail theft and robbery among the most notable examples.
In response to the trend, a growing number of businesses are implementing measures such as keeping items behind locked plexiglass that frustrate paying customers while doing little to encourage the prosecution of those responsible for committing the crime.
In fact, there have been several reports of employees being fired for attempting to intervene and prevent a theft in progress. One such report surfaced in St. Louis, Missouri, where two baristas confronted a pair of men who allegedly brandished what appeared to be handguns in an attempt to rob the coffee shop.
According to police, Joshua Noe, 37, and Marquise Porter-Doyle, 35, demanded access to the safe and, when one employee was unable to open it, Noe allegedly hit the employee in the head with the gun, which broke, revealing that it was fake.
At that point, baristas Michael Harris and Devin Jones-Ransom, joined by a handful of customers, began physically attacking the two suspects. They were able to hold Noe at the location until authorities arrived and Porter-Doyle, who managed to escape, was tracked down and arrested a short time later.
As the suspects await a trial of a litany of felony counts including assault and robbery, Harris and Jones-Ransom were left looking for another job after Starbucks handed them pink slips.
Attorney Ryan Krupp is representing Harris and issued a statement after filing a lawsuit against the corporation.
“Michael and Devin were promptly fired by the company without any explanation as to what, if any policy they violated, or what they should have done differently about the situation,” he said. “Harris complied with the robbers’ demands until it was no longer an option for himself and others.”
For his part, Harris confirmed that he “just wanted to do the right thing as a person and as an employee.”
A Starbucks representative provided a statement essentially blaming the fired baristas for failing to remember every line of their employee handbook while under attack by two violent robbers.
“The safety and wellbeing of our partners (employees) and customers is always our first concern,” the company declared. “All partners are expected to follow our carefully crafted protocols to ensure the safety of our customers and partners during these situations.”