Elderly Home Depot worker dies 6 weeks after being shoved to floor, ‘serial shoplifter’ remains at-large

A shoplifting incident has turned into a possible homicide after an elderly Home Depot employee attempted to keep a suspect from making off with just over $800 worth of merchandise.

(Video: CBS 17)

Gary Rasor, 83, had worked at the Home Depot in Hillsborough, N.C., for nine years and, according to his wife Yvonne, was affectionately referred to as “Mr. Gary.” The couple was looking forward to his retirement and had plans to travel and meet their new grandchild, she explained to CBS 17, but Rasor tragically died on December 1 reportedly from injuries sustained in his effort to stop the as-yet-unidentified suspect.

As it happened, on October 18, surveillance footage showed a man pushing what appeared to be a cart filled with three different Ryobi power washers, with an estimated worth of $837, toward the exit of the home improvement store’s garden center. Rasor can be seen interacting with the man in an effort to stop him before being violently shoved to the ground where his head appeared to hit a plant pot.

Rasor was taken to the hospital after suffering a mild heart attack and losing his ability to walk while the Hillsborough Police Department (HPD) began an investigation for the larceny suspect, posting to Facebook that he had “fled the scene in a white, 4-door, Hyundai Sonata with a North Carolina Temporary Tag obscured from witnesses.”

“He saw the video for the first time in the hospital, and he was very upbeat, and wasn’t worried about anything until he saw that video. He lost it,” Yvonne said, “he just lost it.”

“He knows the guy is a thief. He’s been there, he’s seen him in the store before,” she went on and explained. “And what he told me was that sometimes the guy will buy one or two items so he has a receipt, and then he’ll add more stuff to his cart and flash the receipt.”

In the days following the incident, Rasor showed signs of recovery and had begun rehab. His wife explained that he hadn’t given up hope as they celebrated his 83rd birthday from the hospital and had even gone ahead and bought plane tickets to visit their family over the holidays.

However, on the day before Thanksgiving, his recovery took a turn for the worse, and Rasor was rushed to the ICU where he remained until his death.

“It’s just hard… I know it sounds silly,” his wife expressed holding back tears, “but I’m still waiting for him to come home.”

His stepdaughter Leigh Bucholtz told the Daily Mail, “What I want is for the attacker to be apprehended immediately. I want his face on every TV, in every newspaper, on billboards and social media until there is no place for him to hide.”

“My first priority was Gary and his care but now that he’s passed,” Bucholtz continued, “my next priority and the best way to honor Gary is to catch his attacker.”

Meanwhile, Rasor’s son Jeff said to CBS, “It’s just beyond our comprehension that someone would do this for, you know, a couple of power washers…it’s just mind-boggling.”

A spokesman for Home Depot offered condolences in a statement, “We are heartbroken by the loss of our associate Gary. He was part of our team for more than nine years. He was an amazing friend, husband, father and grandfather, always willing to help anyone.”

“Right now, our top concern is supporting his family and our associates during this difficult time,” it continued.

As for the search for the suspect, the investigation has remained ongoing with the HPD routinely reminding citizens to be on the lookout for the suspect. The day after Rasor’s passing, they implored once again for anyone with information to contact their investigator.

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