Lowe’s Worker Rehired After Being Fired for Trying to Stop Alleged Shoplifters

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
July 25, 2023US News
Lowe’s Worker Rehired After Being Fired for Trying to Stop Alleged Shoplifters
Lowe's employee Donna Hansbrough. (Courtesy of Rincon Police Department)

A 68-year-old Lowe’s employee who was fired from a retail store in Georgia after trying to stop alleged shoplifters has been reinstated, a company spokesperson confirmed.

In a statement issued to the Effingham Herald on July 24, senior manager of corporate communications Larry Costello said the company was pleased to hear Donna Hansbrough accepted the offer to return to the store in Effingham County, where she has worked for over a decade.

“After senior management became aware of the incident and spoke to Donna Hansbrough today, we are reinstating her job and we are pleased that she has accepted the offer to return to Lowe’s,” Mr. Costello said.

“First and foremost, there’s nothing more important than the safety of our customers and associates. Products can be replaced; people cannot,” he added. “We continue to work closely with law enforcement to investigate and prosecute those who are responsible for this theft and violent attack.”

Ms. Hansbrough was terminated by Lowe’s management for reportedly violating one of the company’s store policies when she tried to stop one of the suspects by grabbing the shopping cart loaded with items.

The Rincon Police Department said in a statement on July 21 that the employee was hit in the face three times by one of the suspects, identified as Takyah Berry, giving Ms. Hansbrough a swollen and black right eye.

NTD Photo
Takyah Berry. (Courtesy of Rincon Police Department)

“I just got tired of seeing things get out the door,” Ms. Hansbrough told the Effingham Herald. “I basically lost all the training. Everything they tell you to do, I just … I just lost it.”

“They say that if you see somebody stealing something out the door, not to pursue, not to go out. I lost it,” she declared. “I grabbed the cart. I don’t actually remember going out, but I did. And I grabbed the cart that had the stolen items in [it].”

Police have identified the three suspects as Ms. Berry, Joseph Berry, and Jarmar Lawton, noting Ms. Takyah and Mr. Joseph are uncle and niece.

Suspect at Large

Authorities are still looking to apprehend one of the suspects, Ms. Berry, accused of assaulting Ms. Hansbrough and stealing merchandise from the Lowe’s store on June 25 that was valued at $2,101, police said in a statement on July 24, adding she is also suspected of having committed a similar theft at a Walmart in Chatham County.

Mr. Berry, her uncle, was taken into custody in Jacksonville, Florida, on July 22, police indicated. It is unclear when exactly police apprehended Mr. Lawton, but he was taken into custody previously.

NTD Photo
Joseph Berry (left) and Jarmar Lawton. (Courtesy of Rincon Police Department)

If the case would be taken to trial, Ms. Hansbrough said she would gladly assist authorities with the investigation. “If they do need me, I will be there,” she said.

Ms. Hansbrough told WSAV3 in an interview that she has no negative feelings toward Lowe’s and understands why they initially fired her.

“They said they’re trying to protect me. If the guy had a gun, I’d be dead. So, they’re trying to protect employees [with their policies],” she said.

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe fundraiser set up for Ms. Hansbrough has raised more than $25,000.

According to the National Retail Federation’s 2022 National Retail Security Survey, retail theft has become a nearly $100 billion problem across the United States.

The survey identified Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York as the three most problematic areas for organized retail crime.

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