It was a typical shift for King Soopers employee Santino Burrola,.
"Sure enough when I looked there was a guy already half-headed out with a cart full of laundry detergent scent boosters what have you," said Burrola.
He pulled out his phone and followed the men outside.
"My first instinct was to record," said Burrola.
"Really bro? You gotta resort to this? The economy's not that bad," said Burrola in the video.
"I just recorded said what I said and got so close to where I was able to rip the tinfoil off the license plate," said Burrola.
The car drove off, and Burrola called the police, then posted the video to social media.
"So I posted it on TikTok hoping that somebody would recognize them," said Burrola.
It went viral and was even posted by rapper Snoop Dogg.
"I was like what? No way!" said Burrola.
When Burrola showed up for his next shift, King Soopers management suspended him. The next week, he was fired.
"I and the union rep sat down with them and they [King Soopers] recommended termination and so I got fired that day," said Burrola.
Burrola says Kroger has a policy against employees chasing or intervening in a theft.
"All I did was just record criminals and reveal them!" said Burrola.
He feels like he was punished for doing the right thing.
"I would never let any criminal conduct slide especially when it's happening right in front of me," said Burrola.
Now he hopes his story will bring change.
"I hope this changes the policy, in the handbook or the shoplifting policy and gives power back to retail workers like myself," said Burrola.
CBS News Colorado asked King Soopers about Burrola's termination, they sent the following statement:
"We are disappointed by the increased level of crime across retail establishments and the impact these incidents have on our associates and customers. We remain committed to working in partnership with local law enforcement to address this issue, as safety remains a top priority.
"We have security measures in place to help prevent crime and de-escalate such confrontations to minimize the risk to our associates. While we are unable to comment on personnel matters, we value our hardworking associates and their safe return home."
Thanks to the license plate being captured in the video, Arapahoe County Sheriff's investigators located the registered owner of the car who said he loaned it to a friend. The driver, Jorge Pantoja, 32, the man in the green shirt, was then contacted, arrested and stated he picked up two other males at the Light Rail station at I-25 and Belleview and offered them an opportunity to make some money. The men told the driver their names were Robert and Bugsy. Law enforcement is still trying to locate the other two men. Pantoja is in custody at the Adams County Detention Facility on unrelated felony charges. He has also been charged with a Class 2 Misdemeanor of Theft/Shoplifting.
If you think you can identify the other two men in the video, contact the Investigations Tipline at 720-874-8477 or email email@example.com.
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