Why not call 911?

I had to share these lovely blooms in a planter in our backyard.

If you watch news, you probably heard about two employees at Lululemon who were fired for calling 911 when a robbery occurred. They also recorded the thieves in action on their phones.

Jennifer Ferguson and Rachel Rogers told local outlets they reached out to authorities after a group of robbers came to their store in Peachtree Corners, despite company policy that says employees should not intervene in robberies. 

“We didn’t really feel very protected or know what else to do,” Rogers told local TV station 11Alive.

“We are not supposed to get in the way,” Ferguson told the outlet. “You kind of clear path for whatever they’re going to do. And then, after it’s over, you scan a QR code. And that’s that. We’ve been told not to put it in any notes, because that might scare other people. We’re not supposed to call the police, not really supposed to talk about it.” 


I learned that this was the fourth or fifth robbery at that store by the same men.

Both my son and daughter have worked retail, my daughter at Lululemon in Scottsdale during a Christmas season. My son worked for the now defunct American Apparel while a student at UC Santa Barbara. When he moved to the Bay Area he transferred to the store outside Chinatown.

The manager who approved my son’s transfer was gone when he showed up. Nobody knew that he was supposed to be employed there. A massive robbery occurred one night after the store was closed and they lost $50,000 in denim. The alarm never went off and the manager, who hired my son, was fired.

Then my son was robbed while he worked there. The policy was not to interfere with the criminals for employees’ safety. I heard about this much later because it was one of those “Don’t tell Mom” events.

Yes, I was terrified when I found out about it. I’m thankful my kids have moved on from retail in their careers.

It is said that theft in stores is a victimless crime.

What are your thoughts? Is shoplifting a victimless crime? Do you think employees should be allowed to call the police? What can be done about the current crime wave?

63 thoughts on “Why not call 911?

  1. There is no such thing as “victimless” crime. That is a euphemism for downgrading crimes based on the demographic of the victim or aggressor. We have people that believe that stealing is ok. When a society loses morality and its commitment to facts, this is what happens.

  2. That is crazy to not be allowed to call the police!! Yes, I understand employees not intervening, due to their own safety, but calling the police afterwards to report it? Absolutely! My daughter worked retail as well and they were told to not intervene, you don’t chase after a shoplifter. But then they do report it once the shoplifter is gone. For unfortunately in today’s world if you confront a shoplifter, they may pull a gun! You never know! I just don’t see the sense in not reporting a crime.

  3. I am horrified reading about the current crimewave in California and NY stores. We have seen a few but not as many in this part of Florida. I worked in retail many years ago. I can’t imagine not indicating to someone that a theft was going down.

  4. Whoa…and wow. I think I’ve had my head in the sand, not paying attention to news. This is horrifying. I’m so sorry to hear your son was working when a robbery occurred. Victimless? Says who? 😠

  5. This policy baffles me. I worked for several retailers and don’t recall ever hearing about such a policy. I would want police present to prevent something even worse from happening.

  6. So that goes against all logic of helping law enforcement of see a crime report it. What if the employees steal, should other employees not report it?

  7. Seattle and Tacoma are in the midst of a robbery string. Independent coffee stands, small stores and 7-11’s are mostly the target and the thieves (teens) are hitting 5 or more per night running up and down the I-5 main corridor. They catch a few here and there but this has been a perpetual thing for months now. I almost wanted to laugh when I read that the Lululemon employees were told to scan QR code after the robbery. I wonder who in the company has been tasked with keeping track of those stats and then likely disposing of the report afterward?

    • That’s scary about Seattle and Tacoma. It’s also so sad that it’s teens! The QR code is ridiculous! But then so is paying more than $100 for leggings!

      • I have quite a few, but from when my daughter worked there. She got an employee discount and we were the same size. She’d find ones on sale or returned and pay no more than $20.

      • You know often with teens or young adults, a blog could also be written if you should report things you see and then people’s reaction to them. For example: as I work in my garden outside I observe the neighbor’s son (about 21 or so) who came home to live with parents. He sniffs the grass several times like he is praying. It is odd, so I mentioned to my husband and he observed the same thing. He mentioned it to his stepfather who said he did not know what was going on. My husband asked the retired military guy if his son was praying (Muslim). No response. It is kind of creepy. The mom does not speak to me and the son just continues. Well, we mentioned it but no answers. Now, I find it easier to just ignore as no answers were given. They will be moving soon but they have been excellent backyard neighbors. It is just odd. Thanks for letting me write this.

      • It is a little disconcerting. Sometimes you are best to just go about your own business. Although coming from a small town, and being acquainted with my mom’s insights from growing up in NYC: always know your neighbors. The father, retired military is very easy to speak with.

      • They have been long term renters but he does it several times a day along with other strange behavior. I have just minded my own business but going outside now in the backyard I would rather encounter a fox or wildlife, mostly.

      • Most of our neighbors are here for the long haul and we have known them a long time. They are good. I think something is up with the family and the son returning. It is best to just go out, garden, and nod, do my business. A good post though-also for teachers, at what point to get involved-sometimes speaking up lends you in hot water. Have a good day, E.A.

      • I went through that feeling for the last two years in my beautiful Palm Springs home. We had a homeless man who would enter our courtyard and sleep on our steps. He’d jump over the wall and use our hose to shower. Every day I’d leave for a walk, I’d come back and find him in our yard.

      • Yes, I remember. And sometimes all you can remember is there is a story there, so his behavior and other things he does and his mom’s, there is more going on in the house. Again, not fiction as truth is stranger. Such is the drill of living in urban areas near conveniences but also a few unknowns.

  8. Crazy. My daughter worked at several different Ulta locations and she was told not to do anything until after the shoplifter left the store but then she could call. She was told that the person could say they were going to pay for the merchandise if they were still in the store. She had followed some folks and got the license # of the vehicle and they were caught. I even think she had to go testify once.

  9. These crime sprees just keep getting worse because there’s no repercussions. No one is bothering to report or stop them, it’ll keep happening, and the victims are the people paying exorbitant prices because we have to cover the cost of the theft. It’s absolutely crazy. Hugs, C

  10. I love your note that it was a “don’t tell Mom” event after our conversation about secrets. 🙂 That’s terrible that they got fired for calling 911. When I was in the Apple store in U Village waiting for my phone to be fixed the other day, they had 3 security guards rotating through the store. That combined with your stories – retail theft seems way too rampant! I’m so glad your kids have moved on too!

    • Hiring security guards seems like a solution! I’ve heard of several Apple stores being robbed. I’m glad the U district has done that. It seems safer for employees and shoppers!

  11. I was shocked by this news article, too. Surely calling 911 is the only option. What if the perpetrators had guns? I am saddened that we live in a society where you need security guards at an apparel store.

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