(HILLSBOROUGH, N.C.) — On Gary Rasor’s 80th birthday, his children asked him to retire because there was no financial need for him to work. Rasor refused and told his children that he loved working at Home Depot, where he trained young employees and enjoyed interacting with customers.
Rasor continued to work for more than two years at The Home Depot in Hillsborough, North Carolina, until he was confronted by a man stealing three pressure washers last October. The man violently pushed Rancor, who crashed to the floor and was taken to the hospital — where he died of his injuries a few days after turning 83.
“He was just going to ask him for a receipt,” Rasor’s son Jeff said of the man who attacked his father.
The elder Rasor was attacked in the course of what authorities call organized retail crime — the large-scale theft of high-value items, which are then illegally resold.
In an interview airing tonight on “Nightline,” Jeff Rasor told ABC News’ Erielle Reshef that he wants authorities to crack down on the growing phenomenon.
“There has to be consequences in my mind, and the consequences have to fit the crime,” he said. “I can’t imagine that any piece of equipment in Home Depot is worth a life — and so when you find out it’s $837, it’s just pretty bad.”
Five months after Gary Rasor’s death, another Home Depot employee was killed after confronting a shoplifter in a California store. Blake Mohs, a 26-year-old loss prevention employee, was shot in the chest while trying to stop a theft at a Home Depot in April. Two people have been arrested on murder charges in the case.
The two deaths come as law enforcement officials and advocates warn of an increase in violent and brazen acts during the commission of organized retail crimes.
According to a report released by the National Retail Federation in April, stores and retailers reported that the number of organized retail crime incidents increased by an average of 26.5% between 2020 and 2021.
“It’s growing double-digit year over year,” Scott Glenn, The Home Depot’s vice president of asset protection, told ABC News. “We don’t have enough resources to handle, [so] we have to prioritize the biggest impacts.”
“More and more we’re seeing the risk being brought into the stores, and people being hurt or people even being killed in many cases because these folks, they just don’t care about the consequence,” Glenn said.
In response, Home Depot stores across the country have implemented increased security measures, including more cameras and security guards, and have added new technologies to track merchandise.
“The 500,000 orange hooded associates that are working in our stores and distribution centers, we want them to feel safe when they come to work,” Glenn said.
Jeff Rasor told ABC News that his father would want the “appropriate measures” to be implemented to discourage retail theft and to help people avoid a life of crime.
“He [wouldn’t want] this guy to be in jail the rest of his life,” Jeff Rasor said of the man who fatally attacked his father and has since been arrested on a murder charge. The case against him is still pending.
“He would rather that guy be graduating from law school and be on an internship right now somewhere,” Jeff Rasor said. “That’s what he’d want. But he’s not, he’s sitting in jail.”
ABC News’ Claire Pedersen contributed to this report.
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