3 Store Employees Stabbed in Scuffle With Suspected Shoplifter

Times Staff Writer

Two security guards and a third employee at a Sears department store in North Hollywood suffered stab wounds Thursday in a scuffle with a suspected shoplifter they stopped outside the store, police said.

The suspect, who walked out of the store in the 12100 block of Victory Boulevard carrying a box of electric razors, dropped the merchandise during the struggle and managed to escape through an alley behind the building, police Lt. Ron LaRue said.

Security guard Harry Roundtree, 36, and Garth Marcus, 32, manager of the store's automotive department, were taken to St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, where police said they were in stable condition with minor stab wounds. Security guard Marvin Ramsey, 38, was taken to the Medical Center of North Hollywood, where police said he also was in stable condition.

Guards Stopped Him

LaRue said the security guards, who do not carry weapons, noticed the man placing electric razors into a small box and stopped him when he walked out a door leading to a parking lot.

The man dropped the box, stabbed one of the guards and ran about 50 feet when he was grabbed by the second guard, who also was stabbed and fell to the ground, LaRue said. The third store employee, believed to have been Marcus, grabbed the man in an alley, LaRue said, but the suspect escaped after stabbing Marcus twice in the stomach.

Police Sgt. Larry Bradfield said the alleged shoplifting incident was recorded by security cameras inside the store.

LaRue said it is dangerous for unarmed security guards to try to apprehend shoplifting suspects but he did not say if he believed the employees were wrong in chasing the man after the first guard was stabbed.

Sears Roebuck & Co. spokeswoman Rita Ergas said: "If the weapon is visible, security guards obviously would not try to apprehend. They do not carry weapons because the nature of the business is such that it would only escalate things. Safety of the employee and customers is, of course, the most important thing."

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