A bystander recently shot an alleged shoplifter in Tucson, Arizona, after following him from the store. The retail shoplifting suspect, who has been identified by police as 46-year-old Gerald Ramon, reportedly stole beer from a Circle K convenience store with several witnesses watching him, and then left the scene on foot. According to a release from the Tucson Police Department, the bystander followed him on a bike, and an altercation ensued.
According to the Arizona Daily Star, the bystander reportedly shot the Ramon after being threatened with a large piece of wood. Ramon was transported to Banner – University Medical Center, where he later died of his injuries. The identity of the man who shot Ramon has not been released. Officials say the bystander remained on the scene and has been cooperative; he has not been charged with a crime. The investigation into the retail shoplifting incident and the shooting is ongoing.
Shoplifting statistics show that theft remains a serious problem in the U.S.: according to the 2015 National Retail Security Survey (NRSS), inventory shrink reached nearly $44 billion in 2014, 38% of which resulted from retail shoplifting. Convenience store employees go through training to learn how to prevent shoplifting; if those methods fail, they are discouraged from becoming involved in the situation in order to minimize violence. Customers are also discouraged from involving themselves in a crime situation for safety reasons. However, as evidenced by this incident, the behavior of customers and other bystanders cannot be predicted.
Beyond employee training, other ways to stop shoplifting and potential violence in a convenience store retail environment include cash control, adequate lighting, high visibility, and surveillance equipment.