Asset protection worker Summer Tapasa said she saw the man shoplift a pricey portable speaker from the store a few days earlier. But he got away.
According to her, she spotted him again on December 23 dashing toward an exit with the same item. Feeling fed up, she decided to take action.
“That was my first instinct was to just stop him,” Tapasa explained. “He’s not going anywhere. He’s not about to do this again. I’m not about to let it happen, especially not on my watch.”
In the surveillance video, the 24-year-old asset protection worker is seen blocking the man from leaving with the box.
He eventually crashes through a nearby barrier and another employee tries to help.
Tapasa said, “I was like, ‘Dude, what is this guy’s deal?’ Like, I’m trying to stop you. If you drop the item, I’ll stop.”
The footage shows the man holding onto her shirt as a shopper and other workers intervene.
After a brief scuffle, he finally exits empty-handed, and Tapasa follows him outside.
“I could hear my manager in the back of me saying, ‘Let him go, Summer. It’s okay, let him go. Let him go.’ They would rather let an item go than us risking our lives, and I totally understand that. I appreciate that.”
The Salt Lake woman said she would have been fired for violating the company’s policy, but she had already put in her notice to resign because she wanted to focus on her other job.
Best Buy declined to provide details about its shoplifting procedures but issued this statement: “Our biggest concern is always keeping our employees and customers safe. The reality is simple: physically engaging with criminals can be dangerous. None of the products we sell is worth putting the safety of our employees at risk.”
Tapasa said the man apologized outside and tried to fist-bump her. But she told him to leave and never come back.
Tapasa explained, “I found out who the guy is, and I mean to reach out to him and bless him. I want to bless him so that he could stop doing what he’s doing.”
The clip, which was posted online, has been viewed millions of times, sparking positive and negative reactions and even some job offers.
Tapasa, who has experience playing several sports including football and rugby, said she’s talking to a team from the Women’s Football League Association which plans to debut next year.
“Their captain had hit me up on Facebook messenger, told me that she’s seen the video, and she’s wondering if I’m interested in playing for this football league. And I was like, ‘This is crazy!’” Tapasa said.
And now, a crazy encounter that lasted less than a minute could change the course of her life.