California Anime Store Employee Fights Off Pokemon Thieves

Praise is pouring in for a California mall store employee who put himself on the line to thwart the theft of thousands of dollars in merchandise — pokemon cards, to be specific.

Surveillance video from the MainPlace Mall in Santa Ana showed two male suspects entering the Anime store and grabbing several boxes of Pokemon cards. Pokemon, short for “Pocket Monsters,” began in Japan and is now a global phenomenon featuring cards, video games, and other merchandise.

The cards have an estimated value of $2,700. As the alleged thieves attempted to leave the business, the employee sprang into action.

The savvy worker followed the pair outside the store, according to Sgt. Maria Lopez. She told KTLA that authorities believe “the confrontation happened outside once the employee saw them run from the store.”

Video cameras outside the mall location captured the struggle between the courageous hobby shop employee and the two alleged criminals. He was successful.

The attempted thieves managed to break free but in the altercation dropped what they came for. Video showed a security guard climbing stairs to the scene of the confrontation, but he was too late to intervene.

Santa Ana law enforcement authorities are searching for the unfortunate suspects. One is described as a Hispanic male, about 5’6”, thin with brown eyes, shaved black hair, and a mustache.

The second image captured on video showed a White male about 6’ tall, also of thin build, with black hair and brown eyes.

There is thus far no word if the brave employee faces retaliation from the store for stepping up. That is a far cry from the controversial outcome in May when a pair of Georgia Lululemon workers lost their jobs for confronting shoplifters.

Former Assistant Manager Jennifer Ferguson and employee Rachel Rogers were terminated by the chain after stepping into yet another shoplifting situation.

A video that went viral showed the masked thieves running into the store and gathering as many armloads of merchandise as they could carry. Ferguson confronted them and both employees chased them out of the store before calling police.

Initial reports claimed they were let go for involving law enforcement, but company officials disputed this. Instead, they said the pair were fired for violating policy against engaging with shoplifters.

Either way, the California example proved the good outcome that is possible when employees are allowed to stand up to the criminal element. Thieves are increasingly emboldened by laws and soft prosecutors that give them virtual immunity from serious prosecution.