Best Buy Employee Tackles Laptop Thief, Receives Pink Slip

Paul Lilly

Being a super hero is sometimes a thankless job. Just ask Spiderman and a handful of others who have both fought for and been chased by the law. As it turns out, even being just a regular hero isn't always all that it's cracked up to be. If you require proof, sit down for a chat with Roger Kline, a 51-year-old former Best Buy employee who was shown the door after he tackled a would-be laptop thief making a mad dash with stolen merchandise.

According to a report in the Billings Gazette, Kline was a well-regarded employee and one of the top salesmen during the three years he worked at Best Buy. He had never been in any kind of trouble with the electronics retailer or had any other negative marks on his record.

"I believe I was one of the highest-regarded employees there," Kline said .

Then March 28, 2011 rolled around, That's the day a customer with sticky hands tried to bolt out the door carrying two laptops he didn't pay for. As the man ran by, Kline instinctively grabbed hold of him and tossed the would-be shoplifter to the ground, then held him there until his boss told him to let go. The laptops were valued at $1,600 combined.

For having tried to steal two laptops, the man was arrested and charged with felony theft and misdemeanor drug possession. As for Kline, surely Best Buy recognized his heroics and, at the very least, gave the guy a day off from work, right? Wrong.

Because it's against company policy to interfere with a crime-in-progress, Kline was technically breaking the rules. After a more than three-week investigation, Kline was called into the manager's office and handed an "involuntary separation notice."

"Roger, you admitted that on March 28, 2011, you pursued a shoplifter and engaged in physical force to apprehend this shoplifter," the one-page notice said. "This is a violation of Best Buy's Inappropriate Conduct Policy which states that employees are prohibited from 'pursuing shoplifters under any circumstance or using physical force to detain shoplifters' and ground for termination. Your employment with Best Buy is terminated, effective immediately."

As another testament to Kline's character, he's not so much peeved at Best Buy for making the decision to let him go. For that, he says he understands. But it's the nearly month-long wait to find out whether or not he still had a job that has him "twisted."

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