Dollarama employee beaten unconscious after pulling out phone in front of shoplifters
Published Tuesday, November 6, 2018 12:27PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 7, 2018 7:16PM CST
A woman trying to stop shoplifters at a Winnipeg Dollarama is recovering after a violent beating left her unconscious.
The 19-year-old woman is an employee at the store.
The attack happened Monday around 9:30 p.m. on St. Anne's Road near Novavista Drive.
Winnipeg police said Wednesday at least two men had taken items from the store without paying.
The woman came outside and confronted them, and when she pulled out her phone to snap a photo of the suspects, they assaulted her.
"The victim was seriously punched and kicked and at one point she was knocked to the ground and did lose consciousness,” said Const. Tammy Skrabek in an interview with CTV News Wednesday.
Another Dollarama employee told CTV News the woman was a relatively new worker at the store, had been there for a couple of months, and was not at work Wednesday.
CTV News asked Dollarama about employee training around robberies and violent incidents.
The company responded in a statement:
“Dollarama is absolutely committed to the safety of its employees, and takes such incidents very seriously. We have several tools and measures in place to help employees mitigate potentially violent incidents, including policies on robberies such as the one that occurred this week. All employees receive instruction on how to effectively deal with potentially violent customers or visitors in store. This training, among other training modules, is revisited regularly with all store staff. In addition, there are always at least two employees scheduled to work at all times, one of whom is a member of the store management team,” said Lyla Radmanovich with Dollarama media relations.
Radmanovich said the company offers affected employees third-party support and counselling services.
The woman was treated in hospital for her injuries.
A provincial spokesperson said Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health initiated an independent investigation and is working in collaboration with Winnipeg police.
Police said they're looking into the possibility of video.
The suspects are described as Indigenous males, between 25 and 35, about 6 feet tall with short dark hair, with a white, newer model SUV.
RETAIL COUNCIL OF CANADA
The Retail Council of Canada said it's increasingly aware of these types of incidents, dealing with robberies where suspects seem fearless or are on meth, and is concerned about customers and workers.
It said each retailer approaches violent incidents differently, and it offers information on what it calls ‘best practices.’
"Everything from ensuring you minimize the amount of stock, have multiple people on, security cameras that are visible," said Prairies director John Graham.
WHAT TO DO: WINNIPEG POLICE
Const. Tammy Skrabek said police don't discourage people from trying to a get a description of a suspect or vehicle but do say to do it safely.
Police said if you're in a store where you’ve witnessed a theft, stay inside and call police before you do anything.
BREAK-IN AT SAME PLAZA 3 WEEKS AGO
Suyoon Lee had her own unsettling experience three weeks ago in the same plaza.
Lee had to clean up the sushi restaurant where she works after a 4 a.m. break-in.
"They just came and they robbed some money and everything was thrown away. It was way too messy,” she said.
A visible camera has since been installed.
Lee said if she's ever there during a robbery after the thieves leave, she'd lock the door and call 911, but she still worries about what could happen.
"As a worker, I have to treat everyone fairly, but I don't feel safe,” Lee said.