- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 3, 2016

An Army veteran was fired from his job managing a CVS store in Beltsville, Maryland, after he broke company policy and confronted two shoplifting suspects.

Joe Morici, who served in an Army medevac unit in Afghanistan for a year before returning home and getting a job at CVS, said his military instincts kicked in Friday morning when two burglars attempted to rob the convenience store’s pharmacy, a local Fox News affiliate reported.

Fearing for the safety of customers, Mr. Morici ran downstairs and told the cashiers to call 911. He then confronted the two men, who were trying to leave the store with prescription drugs from the pharmacy’s safe.

A customer who was at the store told Fox he heard one suspect threaten to shoot Mr. Morici.

“The two kids ran into the door, which was closed now, and Joe got one of them and had him,” the customer, Chick Hernandez, told Fox. “The kid, he had said to his partner, ‘Shoot him.’ … And then Joe said, ‘I’ve been in the military far too long. You don’t have anything.’”

Mr. Morici later told reporters, “I don’t really know that they didn’t really have [a gun]. I just kind of assumed.”

One of the suspects did try to attack Mr. Morici with a large screwdriver, but he was able to block it and eventually disarmed the man as they reached the front door, which was locked.

“He tried to hit me again with the screwdriver. I disarmed him of the screwdriver, while having the other guy pinned against the one door,” he told a local ABC News affiliate.

Mr. Morici, who told ABC that he knew his actions would get him in trouble because CVS has a strict policy against confronting shoplifters, was fired later that day.

“I did seven years in the military; a year overseas and that instinctive behavior is not something you can just turn a switch, and it doesn’t happen anymore. I didn’t act in the way CVS wanted, but I acted in the way that was right and I still stand by that,” Mr. Morici said.

In a statement, a CVS representative said, “In the unfortunate event of a robbery at one of our stores, the safety and well-being of our customers and employees is always our highest priority. We do not comment on specific security policies as we do not want to undermine them. And due to our employment privacy policies, we are unable to comment on Mr. Morici.”

Since the news of his firing went public, Mr. Morici has received numerous job offers. He told Fox he has also applied for a position with the Prince George’s County Police Department.

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