Store Worker Fired After Attempting to Stop Shoplifter, Sustaining Injuries

A Dollar General assistant manager in Ohio who was injured earlier this month while trying to stop two shoplifters was fired from her position after more than a decade on the job.

The employee, identified as Rachel Dawson on a GoFundMe page set up for her family, was notified about her termination from Dollar General's Lima, Ohio location on August 20, according to a message her husband posted on the fundraiser page. She had worked at the store for 15 years prior to the August 13 incident, her husband wrote.

"Rachel was informed that Dollar General has terminated her employment. 15 dedicated years," her husband said in his post. "She is hurt, but she'll bounce back. Can't keep her down."

Dawson was working on what started as "any normal day" when she spotted a man and a woman "acting suspicious," according to the GoFundMe page. She suspected they were trying to shoplift and followed them out of the store after the man purchased a couple of gift bags that the woman then filled with unpurchased items, she told The Lima News.

"The gentleman that was with her came up and bought two large gift bags, paid for them, Dawson said. I thought he took them out to the car, but actually, he went back into the store and gave them to her. She loaded them up with merchandise, and then as I was ringing other customers, she tried to scoot out the front door really quick."

Dollar General employee terminated
An employee at a Dollar General store in Ohio said she was terminated after she was injured during an attempt to stop shoplifters earlier this month. Above, a customer leaves a Dollar General store on March 12, 2015, in Vallejo, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Once outside, the two individuals got into a vehicle and began driving away. Dawson grabbed one of the vehicle's doors handles and held on as the car started moving. Local authorities told The Lima News that Dawson was dragged an estimated 250 feet before she released her grip on the handle.

"By the time she was able to let go she had broken her nose in 2 places which will require plastic surgery in the future to fix properly, stitches and road rash over half of her body," according to the GoFundMe page. Dawson spent several hours in the hospital for treatment of her injuries, which her husband said in recent posts were "healing nicely."

A few days after the incident occurred, Dawson said she was worried about the possibility she would lose her job for trying to stop the shoplifters.

"We are not supposed to stop (a shoplifter) until they're past our points of sale, which is outside the door," she told the newspaper. "In order to say anything to them about having stuff, they got to actually be outside the store."

The GoFundMe page was created to support Dawson's recovery, which the page organizer noted was expected to be "long and expensive." By mid-Monday, it had raised $2,408 toward its stated goal of $10,000.

Authorities at the Allen County Sheriff's Office told The Lima News last week one of the suspected shoplifters had been identified and was expected to be arrested in the coming days.

Newsweek reached out to the Allen County Sheriff's Office and Dollar General for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.