Starbucks fires staff who stopped violent robbery attempt in St Louis

Starbucks said employees are "expected to follow our carefully crafted protocols to ensure the safety of customers and partners during these situations."

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
Instead of being rewarded, two Starbucks employees who jumped in to prevent a violent would-be robbery in St. Louis, Missouri have been fired.

Michael Harris and Devin Jones-Ransom were not told exactly why their employment had been terminated, and the former has since taken legal action against the coffee chain.

According to the Riverfront Times, the incident took place shortly before 3 pm on December 17 at the Starbucks in the Flying Saucer Building on 212 South Grand Boulevard.

Joshua Noe, 37, and his 35-year-old accomplice, Marquise Porter-Doyle, entered the establishment carrying what many believed to be firearms. They ordered everyone, seven employees and one customer, to drop to the floor and hand over whatever valuables they had on them.

When Harris failed to open the cash register, Noe struck him over the head with his alleged weapon, however, it broke on impact.

After realizing that the suspects were not armed, a fight ensued, with Harris and Jones-Ransom doing what they could to help subdue them until police arrived. Noe was arrested on scene, and while Porter-Doyle managed to escape, he was tracked down and detained a short time later. The pair are being held without bond.

Noe was subsequently hit with 11 felony charges, including three counts of 1st-degree robbery, six counts of 1st-degree attempted robbery, one count of 2nd-degree assault, and one count of 3rd-degree assault. Porter-Doyle faces the same charges, less the 2nd-degree assault.

"Michael and Devin were promptly fired by the company without any explanation as to what, if any policy they violated, or what they should have done differently about the situation," attorney Ryan Krupp said in a statement obtained by the Riverfront Times. "Harris complied with the robbers' demands until it was no longer an option for himself and others."

He noted that Harris had been vocal about his concerns regarding safety at the coffee shop, suggesting that may have played a role in his firing.

"The safety and wellbeing of our partners (employees) and customers is always our first concern," Starbucks said in a statement. "All partners are expected to follow our carefully crafted protocols to ensure the safety of customers and partners during these situations."
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