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UPDATED: Former Fairfax County deputy charged with shoplifting

A retired Fairfax County deputy was charged Monday with two counts of petit larceny after police said he shoplifted items from a Leesburg Target in May.

Robert H. Palmer Jr., 50, of Leesburg, came to Leesburg Police headquarters to accept warrants against him and was taken before a magistrate where he was released on a $5,000 unsecured bond, according to Leesburg Police reports.

Palmer has a court date of Aug. 12 at 10 a.m. in the Loudoun County General District Court.

The incident caused a Target loss prevention employee to lose his job, a decision “made by Target with no discussion or knowledge by [Leesburg Police],” according to the Leesburg report.

The investigation began when Dallas Northington, a loss prevention employee for Target for nearly eight years, complained to Leesburg Police about the theft, according to the Washington Post.

“The report was documented. However, the reporting loss prevention officer did not witness the actual theft,” Leesburg Lt. Jeff Dube said in a statement.

But the Associated Press is reporting Northington provided Leesburg Police with surveillance footage of the thefts.

Days after Northington's 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.

Dube said following the complaint the suspect was positively identified as a Fairfax Sheriff's Office employee.

On May 30, Leesburg Police began communicating with members of the Fairfax Sheriff's Office.

Leesburg Police were notified Monday by Target officials that they would like to move forward with criminal charges.

Northington told The Washington Post that he's considering his legal options. He and his attorney, Declan Leonard, could not immediately be reached for comment.

A Target spokeswoman says Target conducted an investigation and doesn't believe there's any merit to Northington's claims that he was wrongfully terminated.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Mattzdad12:    what’s your point?  Does Palmer’s talent as a youth football coach absolve him of his illegal activities?
Will retired-(with benefits) Officer Palmer’s skill coaching youth football somehow help Target recognize the error of its ways and motivate the multi-billion corporation to apologize to Mr. Northington?
I hope so.  and I hope CLYFL does the right thing by retired Officer Palmer as well.

You all are going to feel really bad when the truth comes out.  This guy is an amazing person and the best youth football coach.  Past and present CLYFL kids and parents absolutely love the guy, and we are rallying behind him on this one!

He probably reported it to Target Manager however they did nothing because they new the guy… Either way, seems odd, Target would fire the guy. Bad publicity for Target.

“that I pay for” lol! thanks for covering that cost for us!

This guy is a CLYFL football coach.  He’s had surgery on his hip or knee or something like that bec he was always limping around.  Like most government workers, that I pay for, they’re able to retire at an early age and get tremendous benefits.  Guess he’s the one laughing.

Shaken Head - He was already retired, probably on limited income & therefore stole.  Did Northington do the right thing - was it his responsibility to report the theft to Leesburg or was it Target’s.  My guess it was Northington’s responsibility to report it to management and Target management’s responsibility as it was their property that was stolen.  Did he overstep his authority?

@Donna, this story says the officer RETIRED same day the Northington was fired.  Hmmm…  Check out his story from the post with the perps photo.  Anyone who has kids in Loudoun county sports will probably ecognize him…..


It says he was fired for not filling out paperwork before calling police. makes no sense if the guard didn’t see him stealing. Maybe the reporter has it wrong.

Something is just not right.  One thing I know is Target does not really care about its customers, oops, “guests” (last years credit card issue).  Now they will throw an employee under the bus.
Shame on them.

The shoplifter is a RETIRED Fx Co cop.  I don’t see where the embarrassment is to the department.  He may be shoplifting at other stores too.

He did what he has done for near a decade. Seems as if the police threatened Target over this embarrassment and the guard paid the price.

Why are the Leesburg Police covering up for this guy? Maybe the mayor or concil should do something?

Did he do his job?  Who was he to report the shoplifting to - Target or Leesburg?  My guess it would be Target.  It’s Target’s decision whether or not to file carges, not the employee’s.

Why did Target fire the security guy? It makes no sense.

So, why did Target fire the guy doing his job? I’ve witnessed this going on at many stores, like Walmart, Giant, costco, Sams club. Person in front of me has about $100 worth of items but only rung up about $25 or less.

About time!

““The report was documented. However, the reporting loss prevention officer did not witness the actual theft,” Leesburg Lt. Jeff Dube said in a statement. “

According to the WaPo article, the loss prevention officer had the alleged shoplifter on tape. Officers use video evidence all the time when apprehending suspects. Why is it that the loss prevention officer not directly witnessing the theft, but instead having a recording of the incident, suddenly a problem?

I don’t get it.

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