Store security guard is fired for chasing a thief who swiped 20 DVDs... because of crazy British 'elf and safety obsession

When security guard Charles Oloro spotted a shoplifter slipping out of his store with an armful of DVDs, he knew exactly what to do. He gave chase through the shopping centre before catching him and marching him back to the store.

But instead of being congratulated by his bosses, the 42-year-old HMV worker was sacked for apprehending a suspect outside the shop premises.

HMV policy is for security guards to avoid all confrontations with suspects that have the potential to escalate into something more serious. That includes trying to catch thieves once they have carried their stolen goods through the exit doors.

A spokesman for the chain said the rules were introduced in 2007 after a member of staff was stabbed to death in Norwich after apprehending a thief.

Mr Oloro, who has worked for HMV for 14 years, caught the thief in the St Nicholas Centre, Sutton, South London, on New Year’s Eve. He had been watching him acting suspiciously around a display of DVDs. The man had picked up about 20 films before making his way towards the exit.

Once he was close to the doors, he darted out pursued by a quick-thinking Mr Oloro – who caught him 30ft away.

The security guard then frogmarched him back to the shop where he called police. But despite recovering the stolen goods, his actions saw him hauled in front of his bosses, and led to him losing his job.

Mr Oloro, who has two mortgages to pay, said he was just trying to help the shop and save them from losing money. He said: ‘Twenty DVDs is £200 for the shop and that was too much to lose. ‘In a time of recession, I just wanted to save the shop money, and this is how they repay me.’ He said he even went to his manager after the incident to apologise for leaving the shop.

HMV later issued a statement defending their actions.

A spokesman said: ‘While I am not in a position to give specific details of why Mr Oloro has been dismissed... not least because he still has a right of appeal, which we would not wish to prejudice, I can confirm he was asked to leave for an accumulation of reasons.’

But HMV customer Kieran Spears, defended Mr Oloro’s actions. ‘Charlie is a hero,’ he said. ‘He has been there as long as I remember, he’s such a nice guy and everyone knows him. ‘What is the point in having security guards if they cannot tackle thieves?


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