Cleveland dollar store worker fired after chaotic confrontation with shoplifter

The former Dollar General employee didn’t expect to be terminated; she thought she was doing her job

Cleveland Family Dollar worker dragged by car trying to stop shoplifter

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - An employee at a Cleveland Dollar General was dragged down the street while trying to stop a suspected shoplifter.

The suspect is still on the loose right now.

Rebecca, who asked to only be identified by her first name, said she lost her job because of the incident.

At the time the employee said she thought she was doing her job by trying to stop the thief.

"I definitely didn’t plan on getting into an actual physical confrontation,” she said.

Theconfrontation she got into at work last month quickly became a fight to stay alive.

“I was trying to think like, ‘OK, how am I supposed to get out of this?’” she asked.

Rebecca is very soft-spoken. It’s hard to imagine the cashier chasing a shoplifter out of this Dollar General on Miles Avenue.

“I went out there and I was like ‘Hey stop!’” she said.

Rebecca said she recognized the woman who just walked out of her store without paying for diapers and a few other things.

Police have identified the woman as Bionca M. Vinson, 36, of Cleveland, and said she has faced theft and assault charges in the past.

She could face felonious assault and aggravated robbery charges, according to police.

“I still wanted to make sure that it was that lady,” Rebecca said.

As she was loading up the stolen goods, Rebecca said she shut the suspect’s car door.

That’s when she says the woman and her girls began to beat her.

“I was trying to kind of protect my head,” Rebecca said. “And, I end up like half in the car and then she just pulls off.”

Rebecca said the suspect was biting her hand as she was hanging out of her driver’s side.

“At that point, I was just trying to hold on and not fly out cause she was turning, and basically trying to fling me out of the car,” she said.

Finally, the suspect was forced to stop at a red light.

Now, Rebecca said she’s thankful for a man who helped pull her from the suspect car at that intersection.

They "definitely helped me get out of that situation and it could have been way worse than it was,” she said.

The suspect drove off before officers arrived.

Rebecca ended up in the hospital for her scrapes and a scratched cornea.

When she went back to work about a week later the company she was trying to defend fired her.

“They basically just said, ‘Yeah, you weren’t supposed to go out there, so we have to let you go,’” Rebecca said.

She understands, but wishes her good intentions would have turned out differently.

A store employee told 19 News there is surveillance video of the incident. However, it’s not being released at this time.

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