Colorado Supermarket Employee Fired for Recording Shoplifters
Colorado King Soopers employee Santino Burrola was fired after he recorded three men stealing approximately $500 worth of laundry detergent from the store on Father’s Day.
Burrola was alerted to a theft at the store, pulled out his phone, and recorded it.
“When I looked, there was already a guy halfway headed out with a food cart full of laundry detergents and scent boosters and what have you,” Burrola told CBS Colorado. “My first instinct, record.”
As Burrola, a former military police officer, walked out of the store, the three thieves hurried to load up a black Chevy Trax, one opening the doors, another throwing a basket full of items into the back seat, and another struggling to unload the full shopping cart.
“Really, bro, you got to resort to this. The economy isn’t that bad,” Burrola could be heard in the now-viral video shared by the Arapahoe Sheriff’s Office.
“Better gettin’ while the gettin’s good,” Burrola joked to the men.
As the three thieves attempted to flee the parking lot, the getaway driver was a little faster than the two still outside the car, who were slow getting into the vehicle.
That allowed Burrola to yank a sheet of foil covering the license plate.
After the men got into the car and left the area, Burrola called the police, later sharing the video on social media, which helped out the investigators.
“So, I posted it on TikTok, hoping that somebody would recognize them,” said Burrola about the video seen 1.5 million times, including by rapper Snoop Dogg.
When Burrola returned to the store for his next shift, he learned he had been suspended and a week later fired.
“I and the union rep sat down with them, and they recommended termination,” Burrola said. “I would never let any criminal conduct slide, especially when it’s happening right in front of me.”
“Did I feel that I overstepped boundaries? Not really because I didn’t physically touch them or alter their shoplifting in any way; I just revealed the license plate to help the community and the police be aware and to help better catch them,” Burrola told 9News.
“Investigators have already identified and arrested the driver, Jorge Pantoja, 32, the man in the green shirt,” the Arapahoe Sherriff’s Office said in a statement. “Pantoja is in custody at the Adams County Detention Facility on unrelated felony charges. He has also been charged with Theft/Shoplifting, a Class 2 Misdemeanor.”
Police are still searching for the two passengers after the driver was arrested on an unrelated felony charge and was charged with a misdemeanor in the theft.
During their investigation, police contacted the registered owner of the vehicle, who loaned the car to a friend, and the driver was later found.
The supermarket chain around the Rocky Mountains is a subsidy of the Kroger Company, which Burrola said has a policy against employees chasing thieves or intervening in a theft.
— WhatsNew2Day (@whatsn2day) July 5, 2023
So why are retailers complaining about the rise in crime, while not even lifting finger to stop it AND firing any employee who does the right thing? Just rotten…. https://t.co/YRuNbLg8HP
— Bad Bill Bob (@badbills_MT) July 5, 2023
“We are disappointed by the increased level of crime across retail establishments and the impact these incidents have on our associates and customers. “We remain committed to working in partnership with local law enforcement to address this issue, as safety remains a top priority,” King Soopers said in a statement to CBS Colorado.
Following his termination from the store, Burrola posted a follow-up video to TikTok, where he held an impromptu press conference to ask and answer his questions.
“I was limited to my abilities due to the fact that I was employed there,” Burrola answered on why he didn’t “deck” the thieves.
Burrola’s family created a GoFundMe for the fired worker to recover lost wages.
“He was not given severance pay and was planning to move to Florida to be closer to family. This loss of position has put a hold on plans and has made him fall behind in a couple of bills,” GoFundMe states
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