Columbus Rite Aid employee caught on video restraining shoplifte - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

VIRAL: Columbus Rite Aid employee caught on tape restraining shoplifter speaks

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This screenshot from the video shows the employee and another man holding the shoplifter against the ground until the police arrive. Source: YouTube. This screenshot from the video shows the employee and another man holding the shoplifter against the ground until the police arrive. Source: YouTube.
Brent Edwards, 43. Photo courtesy Muscogee County Sheriff's Office. Brent Edwards, 43. Photo courtesy Muscogee County Sheriff's Office.
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

A Columbus drug store clerk turns vigilante and it's all caught on tape.

A YouTube video called "Man Caught Stealing Out of Rite Aid" has more than 34,000 views so far and features the employee and other men restraining the shoplifter against the ground.

News Leader 9's Brittany Dionne spoke exclusively with the teen who said he just got fed up with criminals.

"What were you thinking?" reporter Brittany Dionne asked.

"I wasn't really," replied Rite Aid clerk James Barrett with a laugh.

The 19-year-old dressed in Khaki pants and a navy blue uniform shirt was caught on tape mounting a bloodied, alleged thief. He says he's worked at Rite Aid on Wynnton Road forabout five months.

"I was at work, normal day; he walked in and he went towards the food. A minute and a half, two minutes later, he came around the corner with six flat irons," Barrett recalled.

Barrett waved 43-year-old Brent Edwards over to his register when Edwards took off running; Barrett chased after him.

"He dropped the stuff and he stopped there for a second, I told him that he could leave. I told him to run," said Barret.

But Barret claimed Edwards was looking for a fight. He said Edwards threatened to take his life, that's when he  tackled him.

The profanity-laced video of the two tussling, Edwards yelling in pain, and Barrett threatening to break his arm hit the Internet.

"I figured, maybe if I did something, it might set something in motion; people would try to help out their fellow man," Barrett said.

The Columbus Police Department reports the flat irons were $318.54 but officers said it's not worth anyone putting their lives or anyone else's in danger.

"I'm really tired of all of the crime around here," Barrett said.

A string of convenience store burglaries around Columbus had Barrett on high alert.

He said he didn't think about his safety until after a bystander commented on all the blood on the suspect's face.

"When he was bleeding he tried to bite me and that's when I punched him," Barrett said. "I would never hit anybody otherwise."

Barrett voiced concerns about losing his job.

He says so far management has not said anything to him and he's returned to work, however, now he has other plans for his life.

"You said this is your last week there. Do you plan to leave Rite Aid?" Dionne asked.

"Yes, I do," said Barrett."I'm actually moving to Florida to become a corrections officer."

We searched Rite Aid's company policy. It says quote:

"Associates have a duty to safeguard Rite Aid assets... Associates must also take measures to ensure against theft, damage, and the misuse of company property."

Barrett said authorities told him Edwards was under the influence of Meth when he tried to rob the store.

Edwards is charged with Theft by shoplifting. He remains in the Muscogee County Jail.

Click here to watch the video on mobile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSuB1e5D3vs&feature=youtu.be

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