Missouri police are looking for two teenage girls after one was caught on camera brutally assaulting a Walgreens employee who tried to stop them from shoplifting.
The horrific incident happened Aug. 2 in the town of Independence, about 10 miles east of Kansas City.
“A company employee was assaulted while attempting to respond to a shoplifting incident,” the Independence Police Department said in a statement.
The footage, captured by a witness inside a car, shows a girl in a white shirt and red handbag throwing the employee to the ground outside the store.
The girl is seen punching the employee, believed to be in her 60s, while she is on the ground.
A teenage girl is seen assaulting a Walgreens employee outside a store in Independence, Missouri
Police have released images of the suspects as they ask the public for help in identifying them
Another teenage girl is seen screaming in the background as the attack unfolds.
Police said the two teenagers were inside the store with a third teenager and an adult before the assault.
When the group entered the store, only one of the teenagers was wearing sunglasses.
However, when they walked out, one of the teenagers without sunglasses was wearing one, police said.
The employee allegedly told the adult woman who was with the teenagers to pay for the item, but she refused.
The two teenage suspects then returned to the store, one of them grabbing a Sprite and spraying it in the employee’s face.
The employee told police the teens attacked her after she blocked the Sprite.
The employee has since recovered and plans to press charges, Fox4 KC reported.
Police have released images of the suspects as they ask the public for help in identifying them.
One of the women appears to be the suspect seen assaulting the employee. The other appears to be the teenager seen screaming in the background.
Police spokesman Jack Taylor told Fox4 KC the incident “shocked” him.
The ministry is still investigating the incident.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Winborn at 816-325-7330 or call the TIPS Helpline at 816-474-TIPS.
It comes after Walgreens’ chief financial officer told investors on an earnings call earlier this year that executives may have overstated the effects of organized shoplifting.
Another teenage girl is seen screaming in the background as the attack unfolds
The girl is seen hitting the employee, who is believed to be in her 60s, while she is on the ground
The employee has since recovered and plans to file a complaint
“Maybe we cried too much last year,” said James Kehoe.
Kehoe also said the company “probably” misinterpreted the number of thefts from chain stores and may have spent too much money putting security measures in place.
Walgreens closed five stores in San Francisco in October 2021, citing organized shoplifting.
Shoplifting has been at the center of political debates over crime, especially in urban areas like San Francisco.
The National Retail Federation said the scourge of shoplifting – which has worsened during the pandemic – has cost the industry nearly $100 billion in 2022.
Recent videos of brazen shoplifters have gone viral online, as residents grow increasingly frustrated with rising crime.
Surveillance footage shows a gang of crooks wearing face masks rolling shopping carts loaded with valuable products through a Home Depot store in New York City.
Another clip showed shoplifters loading duffel bags and backpacks with perfumes and colognes at a Ross store in Colorado.
The manager of One Ross Dress for Less said thieves targeted his Colorado store up to four times a day.
Footage captured on location shows a number of thieves bursting into the store filling bags with items before casually leaving.
Store manager Ashley Finley told CBS News: “It happens a lot. I would say this kind of incident happens four times a day.