Updated: Monday, 27 Jul 2009, 6:42 PM CDT
Published : Monday, 27 Jul 2009, 12:59 PM CDT
ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) - In a split-second decision, Troy Schafer both became a hero and lost his job.
The former military-man-turned-Randalls-produce-manager reacted in an instant last week when a 15-year-old suspect snatched a woman's purse inside the Randalls store at 2051 Gattis School Road in Round Rock, Texas.
After hearing a woman scream about her stolen purse, Schafer said he made a split-second decision to chase the suspect out of the store, through the parking lot and into a nearby field where police arrived to arrest the teenager and recover the purse.
"I felt I did the right thing," said Schafer. "You protect people that need help."
Schafer said Randalls suspended him July 22 without pay, and on July 24, the store manager let him go - citing a company policy against chasing a suspect into the parking lot.
Schafer said he was supposed to take notes or get a description and work with police, instead of chasing down the purse snatcher.
Yet, Schafer said that was not an option.
"I'm a human being first, a Randalls employee second," said Schafer.
Randalls spokeswoman Connie Yates released the following statement regarding the incident:
"We regret the events that led to the termination of Mr.
Schafer. Our employees are trained on the company’s strict
policy to not give pursuit in situations such as this. The policy
exists for the safety of our employees, customers and others who
may be seriously injured in a chase, which has happened in prior
incidents at our stores and other retailers. We recognize Mr.
Schafer’s good intentions, but our overriding focus must be
the safety of all concerned. To that end, we instruct our employees
to resist any impulse to chase and, instead, to focus on getting
all relevant information to law enforcement as quickly as
The woman who had her purse snatched said Schafer did not deserve to be let go from his job.
"I've told them if he doesn't get his job back, I will never shop in there again, and I will tell everyone I know about [the situation]," said Ann Welch.
Welch said she went into the Randalls store Monday morning to speak with the store manager about the possibility of Schafer returning to work.
"They said it was out of their hands," she said. "It was a policy."
Meanwhile, Schafer said management told him he could reapply for a job with the company in six months.
"By then I will have lost everything," he said. "I don't have
Eric Poteet with the Round Rock Police Department said the suspect, a juvenile, is currently being held in Williamson County's Juvenile Detention Center.
Editor's note : Previous versions of this story mentioned that Mr. Schafer tackled the suspect. Mr. Schafer instead chased the suspect into a field, and police apprehended him.