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Walmart worker fired after ride in shoplifter's pickup

Jan. 8, 2014 at 1:32 PM

TITUSVILLE, Fla., Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Walmart said a Florida assistant manager who jumped into the back of a thief's pickup truck for a 15-mile ride was fired for violating safety policies.

Mike Dawson, a manager at the Walmart in Titusville, said he followed accused shoplifter Joseph Long out into the parking lot last week when the suspect allegedly stole more than a dozen cases of beer from the store and he was attempting to take down the license plate number of Long's truck when the vehicle backed toward him, WESH-TV, Orlando, reported Wednesday.

Dawson said he jumped into the back of the truck to avoid being run over, and he ended up taking a 15-mile ride at speeds as high as 90 mph as Long sped away from the store. Dawson was eventually able to get the attention of another motorist, who pointed a gun at Long and caused him to slow the truck enough for Dawson to escape.

A Walmart spokesman said Dawson violated store policy by jumping into the truck. Dawson, who had three perfect scores on safety training sessions, was fired from the store for violating the safety policies, the spokesman said.

Dawson could not be reached for comment after his firing, WESH-TV said.

Long was arrested and charged with armed robbery, grand theft and kidnapping.

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