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News10NBC investigates: There were witnesses to the shoplifting that led to the store manager’s firing

The News10NBC team provides in-depth coverage of breaking news, traffic and weather.

IRONDEQUOIT, NY – Thousands of people have seen our investigative report on the Big Lots store manager who says he was fired for following a shoplifter.

Pat Guider says he left the store to track down the shoplifter because, according to Guider, the shoplifter had hit his assistant manager.

And now there are witnesses.

A married couple confirmed Guider’s story, and the woman told News10NBC that the shoplifter hit her, too.

“I felt something pushing me,” said Karen Eagan.

Karen and Tom Eagan had just finished shopping at Big Lots on Hudson Avenue in Irondequoit. Karen says the shoplifter elbowed her as he ran away.

“I was scared when it happened, and then when I saw what was going on, I guess I was just angry,” she said.

This is the incident that the former store manager says led to his firing. Pat Guider believes he was fired because he violated company policy on tracking and identifying shoplifters. Guider says he followed the shoplifter because he hit his assistant store manager.

“I let shoplifters walk out of the store every day. Every day. We just enter it into the system like they ask us to. That was a robbery. That wasn’t shoplifting. That was a robbery,” Guider said at his home last week. “I thought I was doing the right thing by calling asset protection and reporting it, and I end up getting fired. Unbelievable! Unbelievable!”

In an earlier interview, Tom Eagan told me he drove around the neighborhood looking for the shoplifter.
When he didn’t find him, Eagan returned to the store’s parking lot and talked to Guider. On Friday night, he and Karen watched News10NBC’s report on his firing.

“It was like – oh my God! Isn’t that the manager? Isn’t that the guy we met?” Tom said. “And we were shocked. They fired him for doing nothing.”

Karen says Irondequoit police asked her if she wanted to file a report, but she declined.

We have been contacting Big Lots by email and phone for a week now, asking about the company’s policy on shoplifting and whether following a shoplifter out of the store is grounds for termination. The company still has not responded.

The News10NBC team provides in-depth coverage of breaking news, traffic and weather.