Two Lululemon employees were fired for 'breaking employee policy' after brazen thieves stole armfuls of expensive yoga gear and they tried to stop them.
Shocking footage shows masked robbers taking merchandise from displays near the front of the store in Peachtree Corners, Atlanta, before rushing out to their getaway car.
The incident happened earlier this month and the Lululemon shop where assistant manager Jennifer Ferguson worked has suffered a spate of robberies.
Her husband Jason Ferguson claimed she was fired after calling the police on the crew of thieves who have hit the store multiple times.
Jennifer and another employee named Rachel Rogers, who were working in the front, claim they were let go for trying to stop them and 'breaking employee handbook policy' of not interfering with a robbery.
It comes as stores across the US experience a sharp rise in crime andsome major retailers have been forced to shut down shops due to millions of dollars in losses as rampant theft plagues businesses.
Shocking footage shows masked robbers taking merchandise from displays near the front of theLululemon store in Atlanta, before rushing out to their getaway car
Jennifer Ferguson (pictured) and Rachel Rogers were allegedly let go for trying to stop the thieves and 'breaking employee handbook policy' of not interfering with a robbery
Rachel Rogers said the reason she was fired wasn't clear besides being told there was a 'no-tolerance policy'
The incident happened at the Lululemon store inPeachtree Corners
Rogers, 23, who worked as a sales associate, recorded the latest robbery and said the store has fallen victim to the same group of thieves for weeks.
The video shows a masked thief swiping leggings from a display near the front while his accomplice, who is also wearing a mask, holds the door open for him.
An employee is heard saying: 'No, no, no, you can march back out,' before the second suspect walks in and grabs more items.
Jennifer, a mother of four, then shouts: 'Seriously. Get out! Get Out!' as they try to get the thieves to stop before thepair rush out of the store to their getaway away.
It is said to have been close to 'the 10th time' the store has suffered a robbery with no action so the frustrated women reported it to the police for the first time.
They said the thieves would consistently strike around an hour before closing time where they wouldgrab as much merchandise from the racks and tables closest to the door and run out to a getaway car.
But Lululemon has a policy of not interfering with robberies for the safety of their employees.
'Safety is our number one priority, and no amount of merchandise in the store is worth putting yourself at risk for. lululemon has a zero-tolerance policy on chasing or physically engaging with a guest when a theft or suspected theft has occurred,' it tells workers in the employee handbook.
'This also includes leaving the store to pursue a guest or gather additional information about the suspected or observed theft.'
The women claim the company also has policy of reporting robberies internally instead of alerting authorities - but the employee handbook asks staff to call 911 immediately after suspects have left the store.
Jennifer said: 'We are not supposed to get in the way. You kind of clear path for whatever they're going to do.
'And then, after it's over, you scan a QR code. And that's that. We've been told not to put it in any notes, because that might scare other people. We're not supposed to call the police, not really supposed to talk about it.'
She and Rogers said they were fired for breaking policy and they were told there is a 'zero tolerance policy'.
'It wasn't very clear. They didn't give specific reasoning besides just saying they have a 'no-tolerance policy,' Rogers said.
And Jennifer said the same thing and added: 'They said I was terminated immediately with no severance because they have a zero-tolerance policy.'
The video shows a masked thief swiping leggings from a display near the front before his accomplice, who is also wearing a mask, joins in
The thieves would consistently strike around an hour before closing time where they would grab as much merchandise from the racks and tables closest to the door
Lululemon has a policy of not interfering with robberies for the safety of their employees
Jennifer pictured with her husband and their four children
A spokesman for Lululemon said: 'The safety and security of our employees and guests is always lululemon’s top priority, and we have policies and protocols in place to uphold a safe environment.'
It added:'We take thefts and vandalism very seriously and our focus right now is supporting our educators, as well as continuing to collaborate with local partners and law enforcement.'
Her husband Jason took to Facebook on May 23 to speak out about the incident and hit out at the company for taking no action to keep its employees safe.
'I am left with one option, to air my grievances in the public square,' he wrote.
'This was this group's fifth (maybe close to 10th) time robbing the store with NO ACTION TAKEN by Lululemon to curb the robberies and keep the employees safe.'
Jason added thatGwinnett Police Department arrived quickly once alerted to the robbery and four officers came to statements andexpressed concern they had never been notified of the earlier thefts.
Their report led to the suspects being arrested the next day, according to him, as they tried to steal from another Lululemon store in Peachtree City.
'The two incidents put the dollar amount into FELONY theft charges, not misdemeanors,' he said.
'So, this crew is in jail. Partly because of the courageous and brave actions of Jenn and the other employee.'
Jason claimed Lululemon representatives held a Zoom call with his wife a few days after the incident to find out what she knew about company policy before they scheduled a follow up call a few days later.
They allegedly terminated her and Rogers' employment citing the company's 'zero tolerance policy'.
He added: 'This is where my blood begins to boil. These are two exemplary employees, both leaders and looking to advance within the company. And what was their reward?
'They were immediately terminated without mention of severance or any financial consideration.
'Then, as the two terminated employees compared notes on their zoom call experiences, it comes out that the Regional Manager for Lululemon openly questioned why they would call the police.
'Stating that it would 'look bad for Lululemon to be the company calling the police'. Are you kidding me? These ladies are heroes of sorts.
'They did what we all HOPE we could do in a similar situation. They were brave and courageous and honest and good citizens.'
Jason added he had his wife's permission to speak out about the incident.
He vowed not spend another dime of his 'hard-earned' money at Lululemon again unless they makesubstantial changes to their policies to protect their employees and to protect women.
It comes after anex-Big Lots manager claimed she was fired after she followed a shoplifter out of the store to retrieve a cart owned by the establishment.
The pair of thieves rush out of the store and sprint towards their getaway car
It is said to have been close to the 10th time the store has suffered a robbery with no action so the frustrated women reported it to the police for the first time
Jennifer she was terminated immediately with no severance and told the company have a 'zero-tolerance policy'
Lily Oxford, 52, says she and another manager of the Big Lots location in Oildale, California followed a thief who had walked out with 15 jugs of Tide laundry detergent in his cart.
The incident happened on April 5 and Oxford - who managed the furniture section - said she and her coworker were not attempting to stop the thief.
A week after following the customer out, she told KGET that she and her coworker were both out of jobs in connection to the incident.
There has been a sharp rise in crime across the US this year and some major retailers have been forced to shut down stores due to millions of dollars in losses as rampant theftplagues businesses.
Shoplifting has reached alarming levels and large retailers, including Target, Macy's and Best Buy, are now making good on threats to shutter outlets if petty crime was not lowered.
In 2021 retailers lost a combined $94.5billion to shrink, a term used to describe theft and other types of inventory loss. And organized retail crime incidents soared by 26.5 per cent in the same year, according to the 2022 National Retail Security Survey.
Brazen daylight thefts and self-checkouts have also made it easier for people to walk out without paying for items.
Workers in one San Francisco Target store say they are being shoplifted every ten minutes.
Employees say they have watched individuals actively 'shoveling' goods into bags before making off.
Goods including trays of lipstick and nail polishes are being cleaned out by shoplifters on a daily basis.