Grocery store employee says he was given a direct order to follow shoplifters, has been wrongfully fired

A former grocery store employee who was fired for recording a group of shoplifters is now speaking out about his unfair termination.

Flashback to May 29th, when three shoplifters entered the King Soopers grocery store in Brighton, Colorado, grabbed $400 to $500 worth of laundry detergent, and then headed for the parking lot.

As previously reported, instead of just sitting by idly watching, Santino Burrola followed the shoplifters into the parking lot and recorded them and their vehicle.

He later posted the video to TikTok.

Watch below, or access the original copy here:

The video quickly went viral, earning over 1.5 million views. But for this, Burrola was first suspended and then fired.

Here’s the problem: He now claims he’d been directly ordered by a higher-up to essentially chase after the shoplifters and get their license plate number.

“I was given a direct order by the third person in charge to get the license plate, and my initial reaction was to record. You know, better evidence, to get their faces, description of the vehicle and the license plate number,” he said Thursday on Fox News.

He added that he was “shocked and devastated” by his termination, especially since he never put his hands on the shoplifters and simply recorded them from a distance.

Also appearing alongside him on Fox News’ “Jesse Watters Primetime,” was Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office detective Erik Vancleave who defended the young man, saying that if it hadn’t been for his actions, the police wouldn’t have been able to so quickly apprehend the perps.

“We would have caught that at some point, but without Santino’s video that he gave us and me being able to do a little cleaner investigation, it would have been a lot harder to do,” he said.

“His video to us immensely helped this investigation. I was able, with other detectives … able to put the driver in custody, in jail within 24 hours,” he added.

Listen to the two’s remarks below:

Using Burrola’s video, the authorities were able to locate the registered owner of the vehicle, who in turn revealed that he’d loaned the car out to a friend, 32-year-old Jorge Pantoja.

“Pantoja is currently in custody at the Adams County Detention Facility on unrelated felony charges, the sheriff’s office said. He was additionally charged with theft and shoplifting,” according to the New York Post.

“Pantoja told police that he had picked up the other two men at a train station and offered them some money in exchange for stealing from the store. They have not yet been apprehended,” the Post notes.

“We’re still working on the other two. We should have that wrapped up hopefully by the end of next week,” Vancleave said on Fox News.

Burrola for his part is now considering hiring an attorney to go after King Soopers.

“There’s a lot going on in the works that I’m not able to comment on at the moment, but yes, something along those lines,” he told Fox News.

Meanwhile, his family launched a GoFundMe for him that was already up to $21,549 by Friday morning.

“Hi my name is Alexia, I’m building this fundraiser for my cousin Santino Burrola. He is the man in the video who captured criminals in action and was fired from his position for doing so,” the GoFundMe reads.

“As a former military police officer, he did what he thought was right in order to capture criminals. So far one arrest has been made out of the three criminals and the authorities are still searching for the other two individuals,” it continues.

In the GoFundMe, Alexia — the cousin — says Burrola wasn’t given severance pay but needs money to relocate to Florida so he can be closer to his family.

“These donations will help him with his move to Florida, and cover any legal fees if needed. Hopefully, companies there can appreciate his good act. I am also helping him look for any attorney recommendations to see if he has a case and if any legal action can be taken,” the GoFundMe reads.

As for King Soopers and its parent company, Kroger, they’re both now facing backlash over Burrola’s bizarre, seemingly unjustified firing.



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Vivek Saxena


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