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Reports: Sprint fires chasers of Apple store thief

In the same mall where a man lost his finger during recent iPad robbery, two Sprint employees chase down shoplifter and are fired for breaking company policy.

I don't know if the Cherry Creek Mall in Denver, Colo., is a haven for thieves, but, in recent days, shoplifting seems to be something of a trending topic there.

Last week, a man lost a finger when a bag in which he had a newly-bought iPad was ripped from his grasp by a mean-spirited thief. Now it appears that another shoplifter's brazen behavior at Cherry Creek Mall led to unfortunate consequences for two employees of the Sprint store.

According to the Denver Westword, Paul Shoemaker and Mike McGhee, were about to head off to a well-earned break when they saw an alleged shoplifter being chased by a security guard.

Like responsible citizens, they, well, sprinted after him. Which was quite brave, given that the iPad theft had only occurred the day before and, Shoemaker told the Denver News, "I was working at the time [of the iPad robbery], and you could see drips of blood--a trail of it on the lower level down by the food court."

Shoemaker and McGhee caught the shoplifter and pinned him until the 7th Cavalry arrived.

CC Tarasiuk/Flickr

You might think that someone at Sprint might have commended them for their actions. You might think that their somewhat heroic posture might have reflected well on the strength of the Sprint brand. You might think, therefore, that sidewalks are made of custard.

For Shoemaker and McGhee were reportedly fired.

It didn't seem to matter that, once the suspect was arraigned, it was revealed that he had targeted the same Apple store as the iPad theft and was allegedly in possession of over $500 worth of Apple software.

Shoemaker told the Denver Westword: "The lady at the Apple store was so thankful. And she told me, 'We've been sending you business over the last week,' because a drive that Sprint supports works really well with their iPad. They were telling people to come over and get it from us."

Sadly, it seems someone at Sprint corporate was not fond of their heroism or the way they had boosted business. Unbeknownst to the two Sprint sprinters, the company has a rule about employees not intervening in shoplifting. This was something they only discovered when they were given their marching papers.

Though stunned, they still don't seem to resent Sprint. They just wish they hadn't been let go for ensuring a shoplifter didn't get away. It wasn't as if the chase happened on Sprint premises, and the two were on a break.

Still, they seem remarkably sanguine in the circumstances. They have created a Facebook page, on which McGhee wrote: "I want to tell everybody out there that we do not want you to hate Sprint and their service, we want people to continue to be Good Samaritans and look out for each other."

The two already have more than 870 Facebook friends and are looking for work at a difficult time, particularly for Shoemaker, who has just got engaged.

Sprint declined to comment on the incident, citing privacy concerns to Denver-based ABC affiliate News7. But the company's actions do seem very slightly one-eyed. One can only hope, however, that Shoemaker and McGhee get jobs soon. Perhaps the Apple store might have a couple of openings?