Army veteran Joe Morici worked at a CVS in Beltsville, Maryland. When the two men hopped the pharmacy counter and stole drugs from “his” store, Mr. Morici “quickly told cashiers to call 911 and helped an elderly man out of the store before locking the doors, preventing the suspects from leaving. Then he confronted them. ‘The two kids ran into the door, which was closed now, and Joe got one of them and had him,’ Chick Hernandez, a customer in the store at the time, told FOX5. “The kid, he had said to his partner, ‘Shoot him.’…And then Joe said, ‘I’ve been in the military far too long. You don’t have anything.’” As it turned out . . .

Mr. Morici was correct: neither suspect had a gun (one of the perps held a screwdriver). Yes but — his statement was a bluff. “I don’t really know that they didn’t really have one. I just kind of assumed.” Mr. Morici grabbed the screwdriver, but eventually the men got away.

CVS fired the vet for confronting the thieves. Thanks to the resulting publicity, Mr. Morici has received plenty of job offers, several law enforcement related. The question is, were his heroics a smart move or dangerous theatrics, especially as they proved unsuccessful? Equally, what if he’d been armed (as many pharmacists are)? What the bad guys had been armed? What if both Mr. Morici and the bad guys had been armed? Game this one for me . . . [h/t Pascal]

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72 Responses to CVS Fires Army Vet for Trying to Stop “Armed” Robbers

    • Agreed. CVS leadership can suck it.

      As to his personal actions, let the punks go and give police the footage. No physical property is worth losing blood (arson/livelihood/loss of life is an entirely separate matter). And if it’s CVS’ property, placing yourself in harms way for 1/1000000000000% of their annual profit is definitely not worth it.

      • “As to his personal actions, let the punks go and give police the footage. No physical property is worth losing blood.

        I disagree. Criminals are emboldened by the refusal of good men to fight back.

        • I took a class last year on Personal Protection. On the first day, the instructor told us to make a list of the people we are prepared to die / go to prison for. He said that you really need to have this list solid in your mind before you step out in public packing a handgun because in every armed encounter, the risk of one of those things happening is always there.

          CVS (or any other store) is not anywhere on my list, nor should it be on anyone else’s. Remember that the only gunfight you are guaranteed to win is the one you don’t have. As for “good men who stand around and do nothing” that quote speaks to permitting actions far more sinister than a couple of punks who did a smash and grab.

          Granted, there are a lot of nuances to this. If the store was your own and the only source of your livelihood, then the calculus changes. You should defend you and yours as the Korean grocers did back in Los Angeles during the Rodney King riots. In this case however, it was an employee working for a large company. If CVS wants to protect its holdings, then they should hire armed guards. Clearly, they don’t put that much value on their merchandise so neither should any employee.

          Furthermore, based on the facts in this story, the encounter was not a lethal one and no lives appeared to be in jeopardy. Had the clerk been armed and had he pulled his piece, it would have escalated into a much different situation. Had it gotten deadly, it’s highly likely that the Army vet would have found himself facing serious charges as he could not prove that his or anyone else’s lives were in imminent danger – a key hurdle that must be cleared for lethal force to be used.

          I own a cafe and have told my employees that in the event of an armed robbery, they are to comply without heroics. Whether or not I’d fire someone who disobeyed that rule would depend on the situation, but the reality is that most robberies are just that – the guy wants the money and is not particularly interested in killing anyone. It’s not right, but if the alternative is a shootout in a crowded cafe, then I’ll take the lesser of the two evils.

        • Fred

          You just restated the “Obumer Doctrine” of international “leadership”. Grow/buy a pair

      • “No physical property is worth losing blood”, I wouldn’t use that as a blanket statement about everything but certainly no property in a CVS store is worth blood. However, kudos to this good man and I hope he gets a much better job than working a drug store, not that there is anything wrong with it or any other
        honest occupation.

      • “No physical property is worth losing blood”

        I agree with the words but for a reverse of the sentiment. No property of mine is worth losing blood, therefore thieves, thugs, and low-lifes should not risk THEIRS in trying to take it from me.

        I also agree w/ the sentiment of others on this thread that rolling over and letting them take what they want only emboldens them to do it again and again and again.

    • I understand where you are coming from. Many companies have that same policy and it can be a 100% no go zone for employees. My best friend was fired from his job doing the exact same sort of thing. Companies would rather lose money than risk an employees life. Where I work I could lose my job for that. They see it as your life is not worth what they are stealing. I think firing him was over the line but I do understand the reasoning behind it.

      • Most companies will take the loss and don’t want to risk a lawsuit from an injured customer. *If* that keeps the employees safe too then bonus.

        Sorry for the cynicism this early in the morning, in my experience these kinds of companies have the safety of the employees way low down the list.

  1. They drop their 24-hour schedule, they got rid of all tobacco products, and now this? Jesus Christ, CVS, you don’t have to go to that much trouble to make me hate you.

    Was it the smartest thing in the world to do? Probably not. Was it the right thing to do? Probably so. I hope Mr. Morici does take one of those law-enforcement gigs, and that the precinct can find a squad car big enough to accommodate his balls.

  2. Was that dialogue run through Google translate a few times?

    “I’ve been in the military far too long. You don’t have anything.”

    He said, before lighting another cigarette. His brandy slowly warming in it’s snifter. This kind of stand off could take hours.

  3. I’ll never condemn someone for confronting bad buys. Seizing the moment is important but there are a number of intangibles about situations like this that aren’t easily get communicated. Perhaps the most important intangible is Morici’s assessment of the two robbers. A veteran, he clearly brought a level of situational awareness that convinced him that he could stop these two guys. You can analyze this thing to death but the bottom line is the kind and quality of the decision you make when the badness is going down. I think he made the right decision although it’s too bad he wasn’t armed.

    As second point. I can understand a corporate policy that resulted in CVS firing Morici. There’s probably a raft of corporate lawyers telling companies that this is the best way to reduce the liability of lawsuits. On the other hand, these policies put employees at great risk because robbers know they stand a good chance of getting away with a violent crime. I’d hate to have to work a job where corporate policy put me in the position of having to stare down a robbers gun-barrel and hope the scumbag wouldn’t shoot me just for the hell of it.

    OK, so here’s my solution: Companies should go through the motions of firing an employee who take action against criminals in their stores. That satisfies their legal obligations. But, then, after a reasonable grace period they should quietly rehire the “fired” employee. You shouldn’t have to face losing your job for defending yourself and others against a criminal.

    • a lot of corporate policy these days boils down to if the employee dies its ok, but if someone gets hurt on our property (even in commission of a crime) they can sue us bankrupt. after all if we tell the employee not to do anything, if they do anything its their fault and we are not liable. Then the company hires, at best, unarmed security and tells the security officer they are expected to be a bullet sponge for 9$ an hour ( on a good jobsite). the company has provided its employees “protection”, told criminals they wont be stopped, and no one can figure out why the us is going to h-e-double hocky sticks

    • When my girlfriend confronted a shoplifter with pepper spray (as in stepped in front of her and pulled out the can, she didn’t use it) the shoplifters left empty handed. The next day she was told she could not carry or use pepper spray on the job for any reason. This is the same store where a man held a knife to her throat a year prior.

    • Once the scumbags figure this out it will be “open season” in CVS and anywhere else these a$$ine policys are followed.

      • Saw a shop lifter skip out at a Barns and Nobles book store just this afternoon. She wasn’t in all that big of a hurry either, even with the store alarm going off.

  4. The modern man stratagy for dealing with crooks. Let them go. After all, that’s what we have cops for, right?

    • I hate to be in the modern man category, but I’m not putting my life at risk for some corporation’s drugs and/or money.

      And considering the good samaritan was fired for his efforts, you can get a clear view on how worried CVS is with the guy’s finances.

    • ^This!!!!!!

      Here is what I learned from the other comments here:

      1). Let the criminals “get away with it”
      2). Embrace being a victim and encourage making yourself a victim by making it easier for criminals – not for cops.
      3). Citizen arrests = bad

      • We diss the nanny state. We claim we’re all part of the militia. We diss the cops. Until this kind of thing happens.

        Then we go all Monty Python. “Run Away!.”

        • Because the government, the law and corporations create an environment where you’d almost be stupid to try and help. The kinds of things you can sue people for is ludicrous. The police will bust you for anything and companies will separate you from your livelihood.

          Maybe if you live in a small town you can get away with self defense in/or outside of your place of business but for a lot of people you’re only going to run into problems for it.

          I’ve resolved never to help anyone but myself and my close family and friends since I live in Canada and you can’t carry any object for self defense.

          So why would I help the liberal morons around me who agree with these kinds of laws?

  5. A screwdriver IS armed. If someone comes at you with it there is no reason you can’t defend yourself from it. Had he been armed though my guess is the kids would have wet themselves if they couldn’t get out and would have been spread-eagle waiting for the cops.

  6. It’s easy to pat him on the back with hindsight. But given the possibility of the suspects being armed and willing to use those weapons I don’t think he made the right call. Why are you risking your life over a corporation’s products?

    And I don’t see it as unreasonable for CVS to fire him, either. The payouts they’ll face if a situation like this goes bad dwarf the liability from any possible theft.

    • I agree. His first priority is not to get killed, and preferably not get anyone else killed in the process. I wouldn’t begrudge his fighting back, even with an otherwise lawful weapon the company prohibits. That’s his right to defend himself and stop the threat.

      When he starts locking robbers inside the store, though, he’s escalating the situation and putting others at prolonged and heightened risk. Fire him, I say.

      • I’m inclined to agree especially with your assessment regarding locking the suspects in the store with other customers.

    • “Why are you risking your life over a corporation’s products?”

      Because there’s a matter of principle involved which is a lot more important than a “corporation’s products”. But let me put it this way: if you were in a CVS pharmacy and a couple of thugs were robbing the store what would you do?

      • I would not risk MY life protecting CVS’s stuff. My first ministry is to my wife. I need to protect her. If I die getting involved in things that are none of my business, then I have failed in my duty as a man.

        An armed robbery, where I believe another person to be in imminent danger, may call for a review. Is it possible to stop the threat while being (relatively) safe myself? Am I ready to take a life? Can I put a gun to the criminal”s head and pull the trigger twice?

        These are all things I think about, often. It’s part of preparedness.

    • Shop were you please.

      But, I would venture 99 corporations out of 100 would fire employees for taking such actions.

      I am not advocating it, I’m just saying I believe this to be the reality.

  7. We need a ban on screw drivers. They are clearly dangerous.

    I think we need to limit the length of screw drivers. Longer ones are more dangerous.

    I bet they did not even have a license to operate that screw driver.

    • “We need a ban on screw drivers.”

      Not gonna work.

      Screwing is a *very* popular activity…

      *groan*

  8. First Walgreens and now CVS? Guess I need to switch pharmacies again. Time to start looking for a local business.

  9. Smarter to just lay low and let them take CVS’s property. But fuck smart, the guy’s got balls good on him.

  10. Weirdos. I really am on another planet. A guy tries to stop a robbery and is fired??? Who is the good guy and the bad guy here???

  11. I wouldn’t risk my life for a few stolen items or pharmaceuticals, esp. if they were items from my job, come on! He got lucky they weren’t armed with a firearm, they may have shot him if so. I would defend my home against intruders, but that’s different than someone taking something from the company you work for (not even yours).

    It would be safer to get a good description to go along with the video, and the license plate of the getaway car (if there is one) to hopefully catch the perps.

  12. Thank you CVS for firing that employee. I understand how hard it is for a corporation to get people to submit for a few coins and stay inside their box. Cuddles to the gun free zone and letting the criminals with guns know your game plan.

    TA

  13. Go to the customer service section of the CVS corporate site and tell them they lost your business because of how they treated this vet. It’s what I did, because the only way to get a big companies attention is to undercut their profit margin.

  14. Normal corporate policy on this sort of thing is to avoid a confrontation in the store, let the perps go and lock the doors behind them. This minimizes risk to employees and customers, and in my mind it makes sense.

    The store has cameras, the perps are usually well-known to the local five-o, who will recognize them and pick them up quickly enough.

    But… to fire the guy was a bad move for CVS, in more than one way. Poorly handled, to say the least.

  15. Great guy, but this is really not worth it. CVS has insurance and they will pad the claim anyway.

  16. These folks that are saying he shouldn’t have done what he did seem to be ignoring his experience as a Vet in situational assessment.
    He knew what he was doing and as he doesn’t want to die any more than the rest of us he took an action that was completely in the realm of his ability but not in most employees
    He was being loyal on top of that. A word and action that gets ignored in this self serving society that so many live in.
    I and we all should SALUTE HIM . I do.

    • ……and a vet in DC the other week got beaten into unconsciousness at McDonald’s by a gradually forming mob of “black lives matter” thugs whom he’d foolishly turned his back to. So much for the superhero military veteran situational awareness myth….

      This CVS guy defended himself and that’s great. Plenty of people fully comply, only to be murdered anyway. Locking desperate, fleeing robbers inside, though, only needlessly ratchets up the danger.

    • These folks that are saying he shouldn’t have done what he did seem to be ignoring his experience as a Vet in situational assessment.
      Being a veteran is okay, but they are only human as anybody else is and a lot of them were not in combat positions.
      Dad was a combat vet and he would have let the crooks go. Even he would have stated it just is not worth it. Just because you were a combat vet does not mean you are foolhardy.

  17. You know what would have been awesome????

    Imagine for a moment that instead of hiding and cowering in fear while being robbed and then locking the doors after the robbers left so everyone can feel warm and safe… Imagine instead all the customers bum rushed the drug addict criminals and performed a beat down when the criminals resisted arrest. Cops arrive and promptly high-five assisting citizens who made their job easy. Store owner high fives manager and customers for showing criminals robbery is not behavior you can get away with and will not be tolerated even by the populace themselves. Win win – and another win.

  18. I’m not knocking this vet but yeah it’s not what I’d do. And NO CVS for me…didja’ see the Indian lady clerk wrestling a gun(appearing to be a big 38/357) from a 17year old armed robber? And she chased his dumbazz with a hammer…also NOT what I’d do but I love a fearless gal…

  19. what if he’d been armed (as many pharmacists are)? What the bad guys had been armed? What if both Mr. Morici and the bad guys had been armed

    What if a frog had wings? What if space aliens had kidnapped him? What if the bad guys were ninjas? What if Kennedy had been shot from the Book Suppository and the Grassy Knoll at the same time? What if “what if” games are a form a mental masturbation? What if “what if” makes you go blind?

    These are the questions that keep people awake at night.

  20. I was ok with everything he did until he locked the criminals inside with him.

    Let me please point out the difference between somebody who thinks strategically, and a self-appointed “hero”. Had the perps been heavily armed and violent desperados, this sort of heroism would have been warranted by the greater good of saving the community from a clear and present danger.

    But they weren’t. And they were certainly headed for jail after this. So there was no need for heroism at all. Prudence would have been better.

    I don’t think he should have been fired just for those actions. But we don’t know the whole story. If the company attempted to counsel him in good faith, and he became insubordinate, then I can see good cause for dismissal.

  21. Doing what’s right isn’t always easy especially with people telling you not to. At the same time it’s better to let them walk if they’re looking at leaving if that’s their intention rather than risking hell breaking loose in the store. He absolutely had his priorities right in evacuating the customer first, but creating a potential hostage situation is foolhardy.

    That being said, I hope he gets the reward he deserves for trying to do the right thing, even if it was somewhat misguided. I am willing to believe he has experienced enough adversity in his life this is just a bump on the road to overcome.

  22. That we have to discuss whether or not this is heroic and necessary indicates the level of cultural decay we have been subject to.

  23. They are afraid of being sued. They’d rather the robbers kill their employees and customers than someone intervene because then it’s more clear cut in court. Self defense is too controversial.

  24. i’ll stop by the CVS across the street tomorrow and let the manager know that I won’t be shopping there anymore. I walk by it 4 times every day and shop there often. Correction, shopped.

  25. ” Equally, what if he’d been armed (as many pharmacists are)? ”

    You really think that would happen in Maryland?

  26. I’ve worked for a couple national retailers and they all have this policy now. Why? Because our court system puts the company squarely in the crosshairs if anyone is hurt. If the vet was hurt or killed here his family would sue CVS. Same even if the perps were hurt. It’s far cheaper to write off the inventory losses.

  27. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t try that crap in most of my state because I have never seen one with a gun buster sign. Criminals look for those first. They will always choose a place with a gun buster sign first. That is why Waffle House restaurants gets robbed me than other places in NC.

  28. If if if if if I had wheels I’d be a wagon. How about the focus be that an American hero acted heroically in the finest tradition of American men and just leave it at that. Also, fark CVS. Never shall I set a foot in there.

  29. This made me think of a variation of that old Kenny Rogers song ‘Coward of the County’.

    “…But you could’ve heard a pin drop when Joe stopped and locked the door.”

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