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Meijer Responds After Firing Teen Who Got Plate Number Of Getaway Car

Meijer claimed 18-year-old Ian McMinn left the store's parking lot in pursuit of justice and violated company policy.

Mentor, OH – Meijer said Wednesday that it fired a retired cop’s son for violating company policy when he made an effort to get the license plate number of a shoplifter’s vehicle, but the 18 year old denied he ever left the area where he was assigned to work.

“Keeping our team members safe is our top priority and we have specific policies in place to do just that,” Meijer Corporate Communications Senior Director Frank Guglielmi told Blue Lives Matter in an email on May 13.

“The team member in question pursued a vehicle on foot out of our store parking lot and into a neighboring parking lot in direct violation of our company policy,” the email said. “He did this after our asset protection team had stopped pursuing the suspect and after he was instructed to stop. We investigated the situation and it was clear the team member acted without direction and went against the policy we have in place to protect our team members.”

But 18-year-old Ian McMinn, who is a graduating senior at Mentor High School, said that’s not what happened at all.

“I never heard anybody tell me to stop, and I didn’t run into another parking lot,” McMinn told Blue Lives Matter.

The almost-high school graduate explained that he got a job at the Meijer store located at 9200 Mentor Avenue after schools suddenly closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

McMinn said he had been working as a cart collector for the store for about two months when he saw a shoplifter dash out of the store and head for a getaway vehicle waiting in the parking lot.

He told Blue Lives Matter that he stayed where he was, with the shopping carts he had been collecting, until after the suspect had jumped into a car driven by a co-conspirator and the two had fled out of the parking lot.

McMinn said at that point, he walked across the parking lot and caught a glimpse of the getaway vehicle’s license plate before it drove out of sight.

He returned to the store and gave the license plate number to the store manager and the loss prevention agents, who told McMinn they had been required to stop at the sidewalk adjacent to the store per company policy.

McMinn told Blue Lives Matter that he vaguely remembered a policy in the store safety video that he’d been shown on his first day of work at Meijer, but he was already working in the parking lot before the shoplifter exited the store.

He said he didn’t think about it again until about a week later, on Mother’s Day, when he arrived at work and was informed that he had been terminated.

The manager who fired McMinn told him he had violated the safety policy, the teenager told Blue Lives Matter.

“I was upset because I didn’t know the policy – I watched the video but didn’t remember it and it came as a total surprise to me,” McMinn explained. “Then they fired me for doing the right thing. I was just really surprised.”

He said it never occurred to him that he wasn’t supposed to observe and report something in the same parking lot where he was assigned to be working.

The graduating senior went home and told his father, retired Painesville Police Officer John McMinn that he had been fired.

Officer McMinn, who served 27 years in law enforcement, told Blue Lives Matter that at first, he didn’t believe what he was hearing.

He told Blue Lives Matter that he went up to the Meijer store to talk to the manager to find out what the full story was and figure out if his son had misunderstood something.

“It didn’t make any sense so I thought maybe he had been goofing off or something,” the father explained.

But Officer McMinn quickly found out that what his son had told him was totally accurate.

He told Blue Lives Matter that a manager told him that his son had violated the store’s policy when he made an effort to take down the license plate number after the car fled.

Officer McMinn said that as the son of a police officer, Ian was raised to do the right thing when he saw something wrong happen in front of him.

He said that if the loss protection agents were yelling at his son to stop that day, as Meijer claimed, then Ian probably thought they were yelling at the thieves to “stop,” not him.

His son, a member of the Class of 2020, told Blue Lives Matter he is looking forward after the momentary setback.

McMinn said that he hoped to study to become a National Parks ranger and EMT specialist after graduation and wanted to eventually work at Yosemite or Yellowstone Park.

Sandy Malone - May Thu, 2020

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