Jim Tinney said he was only trying to do the right thing, but ended up getting fired from his job at a Texas Home Depot after confronting shoplifters last month.
The 70-year-old veteran told local media he threw a paint roller extension at one of the three men he said stole tool sets from the Home Depot in Pearland, Texas, in an attempt to stop them.
However, the suspect fled the scene, and no injuries were reported. Tinney said his training in the Army prompted him to react on his reflexes. Two weeks later, Tinney was booted from the department store.
The Army veteran admits he had violated his employment training but believes Home Depot responded harshly by firing him.
“I think they could have written me up, reprimanded me, but terminate me? That’s pretty strong,” he told ABC13. “I’m 70 years old. I need to work. I needed that job. I enjoyed working with customers figuring out what they wanted to do. It’s fun.”
Stephen Holmes, a Home Depot spokesman, told the Daily News that as part of the company’s strict policy, only trained security personnel are allowed to confront shoplifters for the safety of customers and employees. Tinney was fired because he violated that policy, the spokesman explained.
Holmes said a few recent instances have turned dangerous because either a knife or a gun has been drawn. The company has a team that works with the Human Resource department to review cases like Tinney’s, he added.