A former Home Depot employee said the company fired him and three other workers because they helped police catch several suspected shoplifters in May.
Midwest City police said the men helped officers catch suspected shoplifters as they tried to run from a store with lawn equipment.
An internal memo from Home Depot outlines that associates cannot accuse, detain, chase or call the police on any customer for shoplifting. However, one of the fired employees said the company is selective in enforcing that policy.
"The loss-prevention guy at our Shields (Boulevard) store turned around and told me all we need to do is tell the shoplifter to have a good day as they leave the store. I said that just doesn't make sense."
Bob Stewart said what really doesn't make sense is a termination letter Home Depot gave him and three other employees after they helped police catch the shoplifters.
"We saw them with the merchandise. We saw them run out of the store. I never kept my eyes off of them. Then when we asked them for a receipt, and that's when they dropped the merchandise and they kept running. One guy still had a chainsaw while he was running, and that's when the cops tackled him," he said.
The letter said Stewart and the others were fired because "he pursued and assisted in the apprehension of suspected shoplifters."
Stewart said all he did was call police, something he's done before. Less than eight months ago, he said that he received a letter -- a commendation letter -- for helping police catch a thief trying to steal $2,500 worth of wire.
On the top of the letter, written in bold letters was "Great job, Bob."
Home Depot officials said Eyewitness News 5 an e-mail saying that they have "standard operating procedures in place for situations like this," and that "from time to time, we find inconsistent execution in our stores."
However, they added that they do not discuss personnel matters and will not comment on this specific case.
Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes said he won't comment on the store policy but said they would probably not have caught the suspects or recovered the property or the stolen car they drove if it had not been for the help of these four employees.
Clabes said he is considering giving the four men letters of appreciation for helping catch the suspects.