Chivalry gets you fired? Grocery clerk let go after chasing down thief who stole an old lady’s purse

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A former grocery store employee says he was let go by management for violating workplace “safety” rules after he chased down an alleged purse snatcher.

According to a social media post by Amir Shedyak, 20, the incident happened last month as a man allegedly attempted to snatch an elderly woman’s purse at a Hannaford grocery store in Burlington, Vt.

“I got fired from Hannafords after working there for four years. I started out as a bagger and worked my way up to the post of a shift leader. Throughout the years working at Hannafords, I was trained in many departments such as the kitchen, deli and hannaford to go,” he wrote on Facebook last week.

“I was March employee of the month for coming to work on time, covering shifts when needed, and going above and beyond to help customers in any way possible,” he noted further.

Shedyak said he had arrived at work per usual, clocked in, and then began working his shift when, a while later, a fellow employee waved him over to inform him than a woman’s purse was just stolen.

“And he was like – an old lady’s purse just got stolen,” he told WCAX. “I look to my right and I see a gentleman running across the parking lot and he had the purse in his hand.”

Writing in his Facebook post, Shedyak — who is also a volunteer firefighter — said, “I quickly sprung [sic] into action and ran outside. There were many people outside due to witnessing the act of crime.”

“I asked which way the thief went and chased after him, I was able to subdue him and get the purse back to the elderly lady. She was beyond grateful!” Shedyak said.

The clerk said he tackled the alleged thief from behind and held him down while retrieving the purse. But as he called police, the suspect ran off.

A couple of days later, he said he reported back to the grocery store to work a shift but instead of going on to perform his duties he was called into the manager’s office.

“I was told that I would be suspended due to an ongoing investigation of the incident. A week later I received a phone call that the investigation was done and I could come into work for the results,” he wrote.

“The outcome resulted in me getting fired due to safety issues while on company time,” he wrote.

“I have no hard feelings towards my coworkers/ managers or the establishment. I just feel that what I had done was not wrong and should not have resulted in me being fired,” Shedyak added.

The former employee also said the grateful woman attempted to offer him a cash reward.

“She was trying to offer me money. ‘I don’t want your money, just wanted to help you out, do what’s right,’” he said, according to WCAX.

The outlet reported that police later arrested Adrian Moore, 29 of Essex, on charges of larceny.

Shedyak confirmed that was the man who he grabbed, while WCAX reported that the incident was not Shedyak’s first time dealing with alleged thieves.

Pietro Lynn, a local attorney not involved in the case, said the store’s actions are “not uncommon.”

“It is not uncommon at all for employers to discourage employees from laying hands on customers,” Lynn told WCAX.

That didn’t satisfy Shedyak, however.

“Why should it make a difference that, hey, I’m clocked in now — he’s in trouble. If I wasn’t clocked in — oh, you did a good job,” he said, adding that he quickly found another job.

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Jon Dougherty

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