VIRGINIA

Fairfax Co. Sheriff's employee to be charged in Target theft that led to store employee's firing

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LEESBURG, Va. (AP/WJLA) - The Leesburg Police Department confirmed Monday that the suspect in a shoplifting incident at a local Target store is a Fairfax County Sheriff's Office employee, and that the store has decided to press charges.

However, the long-time Target security employee who was terminated in connection with the reporting of the incident will remain terminated, police said.

Employee Dallas Northington says he was fired after reporting shoplifting by a man believed to be a sheriff's deputy.

Northington told the Washington Post he responded to the May shoplifting case the way he always did - by filing a report with Leesburg police and providing surveillance video.

But days after this report, the suspect retired from the sheriff's office and Northington was fired. Northington says Target officials told him he violated procedure by not filling out paperwork before contacting police.

Northington says store supervisors recognized the suspect.

Though a Target spokeswoman initially told the Associated Press that Target had conducted an investigation and did not believe there was "any merit to Northington's claims," Leesburg police officials said Target notified them on Monday that they wanted to proceed with criminal charges against the suspect, whom Leesburg police have confirmed was a Fairfax County Sheriff's Office employee.

Police said they were not involved with the decision to fire Northington, though.

"The decision to terminate the Target loss prevention officer was strictly a corporate decision made by Target, with no discussion or knowledge by our agency," Lieutenant Jeff Dubé said in a statement Monday.

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