Security expert discusses alleged shoplifting death

by: John Bachman Updated:

Vidal Calloway is suspected of shoplifting two Blu-Ray/DVD players from a Walmart on Fairington Road. in Lithonia when he got into a struggle with two store employees.

A security expert believes others should hold off on judging Walmart employees who held a shoplifting suspect down before he died.

Channel 2’s John Bachman discussed the incident with Greg Norred, who owns security firm Norred and Associates, on Wednesday. Norred said businesses lose $35 million every day to shoplifters. 

"A retail company or any business has the right to arrest people that are stealing their stuff," Norred said.

Norred and Associates puts nearly 1,000 guards into Atlanta stores, but none of Norred’s guards were associated with the Walmart scuffle Sunday. Walmart said the security guard will no longer work with the store, but Norred is waiting for the autopsy to draw any conclusions.

"Although it's a tragic situation, I don't think anybody needs to rush to judgment on the guard," he said.

According to the DeKalb County police report, a man stole two DVD players from the Walmart on Fairington Road in Lithonia. The report said two Walmart employees and a security officer caught him in the parking lot.  During a scuffle, the report said, it appears the man was placed in a choke hold. 

When police arrived, the man was unresponsive and bleeding from the nose and mouth.  Fatimah Calloway told Channel 2 the man was her estranged husband, Vidal Calloway. She said she is busy planning her husband's funeral for this weekend.

"They took three people to hold him down and choke-hold him. How can you do that? One person with no weapon? All for two DVD players?" Calloway said Monday.

Norred said, "The norm with most companies, you don't pursue them; you let it go. But getting that across to the security guard who's caught up in the moment, it’s sometimes hard to do."

A Walmart representative said the two employees are suspended with pay pending the investigation.  The company also issued a statement that reads in part, "No amount of merchandise is worth someone's life. Associates are trained to disengage from situations that would put themselves or others at risk."

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