Saturday morning came and went, mostly quiet. Mostly. However, in Chicago’s Little Village, a man stole tubes of toothpaste at a CVS Pharmacy and was caught. He paid the ultimate price for his theft; he died after the struggle.
The death, resulting from a CVS employee who chased the shoplifter and held him in a choke-hold, has been ruled an accident. A medical examiner ruled the man’s death death a homicide, stating the shoplifter had been strangled. Chicago police, however, are not charging the employee.
“Why would you kill someone over toothpaste?” exclaimed the man’s ex-wife, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The shoplifter, who had served prison time for drug convictions, was still battling substance abuse according to sources. The man’s family requested a full investigation into the incident, including statements made by witnesses that an off-duty police officer was on the scene.
Chicago Police deny claims that an off-duty officer was identified in witness statements. Other witnesses, asking to remain anonymous, stated that an officer identified themselves and drew a sidearm, pointing it at the downed man, warning him to stop resisting the CVS employee and other men who were holding the struggling shoplifter.
Chicago Police spokesperson stated that by the time officers arrived, the man was unconscious and that there was no evidence of officer involvement. However, surveillance video from a recorder is being reviewed to identify the participants to identify any actions that may have led to the man’s death. The CPD also asked for any other witnesses to step forward and contact detectives.
Initially described as being in serious condition, the shoplifter was declared dead 45-minutes after police arrived.
A CVS spokesman stated that the company was also reviewing video footage.
While security is a problem for many stores in Chicago, causing them to raise the price on various items, toothpaste doesn’t seem to warrant the harsh outcome of this tragic situation. Retailers, outfitted with surveillance equipment and DVRs, still aren’t able to identify, and catch, those that feel the need to steal from the stores.