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Dismissed for stealing: 7 examples

Female employee checking to see no one is watching. It’s only a small thing that’s shes taking and doesn’t see it as really as stealing. Dismissed for stealing is very common, we get the calls every day. It can be considered a dismissal for serious misconduct.

7 employees who were fired for stealing

Stealing from your employer is never a good idea. It is a form of serious misconduct that the Fair Work Commission highlights as justification for immediate dismissal. In this article, we look at seven recent cases from around the world of employees who were fired for stealing. I wrote this article because we hear of employees getting dismissed over just crap, its crazy. Its reputational damage, loss of income maybe criminal charges. Its the unintentioned consquences of your actions you have to consider, please read on.

Sacked principal loses $200K pension for stealing 72c worth of coffee

In February 2024, the story of a dismissed Japanese school principal made global headlines. The 59-year-old male principal, whose identity remains undisclosed, worked at a school in Takasago, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan.

He was alleged to have used a self-service coffee machine at a convenience store, pouring himself a larger-size coffee while only paying for a regular-size cup. This discrepancy, amounting to just 70 yen ($AU0.72), may seem trivial. But it has led to significant repercussions for the principal and his career.

    The principal’s coffee caper was brought to light when a store clerk noticed the discrepancy and promptly alerted the authorities. He told them that the principal had cheated the system multiple times before.

    Employee entering the company premises after hours. Always get approval before doing this. The employee intentions might be good. However there is a proception problem to say the least.

    School board fires principal

    The convenience store declined to press charges. However, word about his coffee theft soon travelled back to his employer. This saw the Hyogo Prefectural Board of Education launch an investigation. The principal was questioned and admitted to underpaying for his coffee purchases. He acknowledged that he had committed the offense multiple times before being caught.

    The principal told the Board that he had first done it by accident. But then did it again “on the impulse of the moment.” The principal said that he was “truly sorry” for the theft. This apology, however, fell on deaf ears. The Hyogo Prefectural Board of Education decided to fire the principal for gross misconduct. It stated that his behaviour was “unbecoming of an educational public servant.”

    Principal loses everything over cup of coffee

    Not only was the principal fired, he also had his teaching licence revoked. Plus, he had to forfeit his retirement pay. This was estimated to be around 20 million yen ($AU200,000). The principal’s dismissal attracted severe criticism online. However, the Board of Education defended its decision, citing the need to uphold disciplinary standards among educational public servants.

    “We reviewed past disciplinary actions and concluded that dismissal is appropriate for a repeated offense,” a Board official said. The Board emphasised that the principal’s actions constituted a breach of trust and integrity, warranting the most severe form of disciplinary action available.

    You cannot take what is not yours. It might have very little value and its a wealthy employer. But this is not the point, it doesn’t belong to you. Ask. Employees end up dismissed over stuff that has no value, don’t do it.

    Ex Google employee faces decades in jail for stealing AI secrets

    In March 2024, the story of former Google software engineer Linwei Ding made worldwide headlines. The 38-year-old Chinese national was not just dismissed for serious misconduct. He was also charged by the U.S. Department of Justice of four counts of theft of trade secrets related to artificial intelligence technology from Google. Mr Ding, who resides in California, now faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for each count, in addition to substantial fines.

    Mr Ding stands accused of transferring confidential information from Google’s network to his personal accounts. This was while he maintained clandestine affiliations with two Chinese companies in the AI industry.

    Copied AI data to personal accounts

    In its indictment, the U.S. Department of Justice said that Mr Ding started working as a software engineer at Google in 2019. During this time, he reportedly played a pivotal role in the development of software utilised in Google’s supercomputing data centers. This role granted him privileged access to proprietary information pertaining to Google’s AI initiatives.

    However, the indictment alleges that Mr Ding abused his position of trust by surreptitiously copying over 500 files from Google’s network. These contained confidential information that he transferred to his personal accounts between May 2022 and May 2023. These files encompassed details related to Google’s supercomputing data centers, which are integral to training large AI models through machine learning.

    Concerned employee on the phone who has misused a company credit card. Many employees cribb on their expenses, be careful.

    Mr Ding founded AI startup with stolen info

    While he was still working at Google, Mr Ding was offered a position as chief technology officer at a Chinese early-stage technology firm in June 2022. He also founded his own AI startup, Shanghai Zhisuan Technology Co. Mr Ding spent several months in China, while still a Google employee, to attend investor meetings.

    He told investors that “we have experience with Google’s ten-thousand-card computational power platform; we just need to replicate and upgrade it – and then further develop a computational power platform suited to China’s national conditions.”

    It is alleged that Mr Ding had a coworker use his badge to clock in at Google’s offices in the US to make it seem like he was at work. Google soon discovered Mr Ding’s unauthorised file transfers. The company promptly initiated an investigation into the misconduct, reporting it to the FBI.

    “The theft of innovative technology and trade secrets from American companies can cost jobs and have devastating economic and national security consequences,” the FBI said regarding Mr Ding’s alleged crimes.

    Workers steals $50K of designer goods from Sydney airport store

    In January 2024, the Australian Federal Police reported that a 39-year-old woman was charged with allegedly stealing $50,225 worth of luxury designer items. She stole them from her place of work; a shop at Sydney International Airport.

    The woman, who remains unnamed, is set to appear before Downing Centre Local Court facing charges of larceny. The arrest follows an investigation by the Australian Federal Police that was prompted by a complaint from the store.

    Employee under workplace investigation over fraud issues. Keep good documents as to what you have been doing in oder to defend yourself against being sacked for serios misconduct.

    Cartier jewelry among stolen items

    According to police allegations, the woman pilfered 15 items including Cartier bracelets and earrings. Detectives executed a search warrant at her residence in January 2024, unearthing a cache of stolen goods. This included four bracelets, three pens, two lighters, two bracelet keys, a pair of earrings, a wallet, a candle, a lighter and a men’s pendant.

    “This woman allegedly abused her position within the airport terminal for personal gain,” Australian Federal Police Detective Superintendent Morgen Blunden said. The woman stands charged with larceny by clerks or servants, in contravention of the NSW Crimes Act 1900 and Commonwealth Places (Application of Laws) Act 1970. If convicted, she faces a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.

    “It’s black history month you can’t fire me”: Worker brags about theft on TikTok

    In February 2023, a Brisbane Red Rooster employee landed herself in hot water after posting a TikTok video. The employee, who goes by the name Qrillo on TikTok, shot the video while working in the drive thru. It showed her lip-syncing to the lyrics of a song. But it was the comment superimposed over the video that led to her sacking.

    “When I accidentally put a $100 note in my pocket at work,” the comment read. “Why am I so silly.” The video quickly caught the attention of her manager, who texted Qrillo saying “stealing is not tolerated here at Red Rooster and we will be terminating your contract as of today. Please return your work uniform as soon as possible.”

    It was a accident, no ne believes this defense. It’s like a dog ate my homework defense.

    To this, Qrillo simply replied “Lol no” followed by a skull emoji. The manager also told Qrillo that the police would be investigating the alleged theft. But to this, the Red Rooster employee simply said “It’s black history month you can’t fire me,” followed by three skull emojis.

    Theft issue in social media. This is no good for employees future prospects of employmenet. Be careful.

    “Amazon done took my f**king dog”: Delivery man fired for stealing puppy

    In February 2024, a woman in the US state of Georgia accused an Amazon delivery driver of attempting to steal their puppy. Terrika Currence reported the incident to police after the driver dropped off an order at her house in the Atlanta suburbs. The attempted theft came to her attention when her daughter noticed the driver was trying to lure their puppy into his van.

     “As I open the door to put the package in the house, and the dog food, my daughter screams and says, ‘The Amazon guy stole our puppy!’” Ms Currence then filmed herself chasing after the driving, shouting

    F**king Amazon done took my f**king dog out my f**king yard!”

    Ms Currence

    Remarkably, the dog was found inside the van, prompting Ms Currence to swiftly retrieve her pet from the vehicle. The driver allegedly provided a concerning explanation for his actions. He told Ms Currence that “the dog was pretty and that he would love to have a puppy.”

    An Amazon spokesperson told local media that the driver had been dismissed. “We’ve apologised to the customer and glad their dog was returned unharmed,” they said, further stating that Amazon has cooperated with law enforcement in their investigation.

    Worker attempts to set fire to cars at business that sacked her for stealing

    In July 2023, a 26-year-old woman went on a rampage at a rental car outlet that she used to work at. Darchun Burks had been fired in June 2023 by Enterprise Rent-A-Car in the US city of Cleveland for stealing one of its cars. On 9 July, she decided to take revenge on her former employer. Ms Burks stole a rental car and proceeded to drive around the business’ lot, smashing into other cars.

    She also poured petrol around one of the business’ fuel pumps, lit a match and attempted to start a blaze. Ms Burks also tried to run over an Enterprise employee and hit a neighbouring building after attempting to block the exit of the lot.

    Police soon arrived and found two Enterprise workers pinning Ms Burks to the asphalt. She told police that she “came to do exactly what she did.” Namely, to pour petrol around and start a fire. Ms Burks was apprehended on multiple charges, including aggravated arson and felonious assault.

    Police mug shot in prison uniform. Moral of the story, don’t do it.

    Supermarket employee fired for filming shoplifting incident

    This story of grocery store employee Santino Burrola is a bit different from the others in this article. Rather than being fired for stealing, he was dismissed for filming three men who stole approximately US$500 worth of laundry detergent from his workplace; King Soopers grocery store in Arapahoe County, Colorado.

    The incident, which occurred on 18 June 2023, led to a viral video that gained over 1.5 million views on TikTok. Mr Burrola, a former military police officer, was working at the store when he noticed the three men leaving with a cart full of detergent. He instinctively began recording the theft, chasing after the men through the parking lot.


    As the thieves began loading the detergent into their car, Mr Burrola began questioning the audacity of the thieves. He did this while ensuring he did not physically intervene in the theft.

    “Really bro? You gotta resort to this?” Mr Burrola said in the video. “The economy’s not that bad.” The thieves then started to make off with the solen goods by driving off. But as they did, Mr Burrola ripped off the tinfoil that was concealing their licence plate.

    Worker is dismissed

    While many online applauded Mr Burrola for exposing the thieves, his employer thought otherwise. His actions breached the policies of King Soopers’ parent company, which prohibit employees from engaging or interfering with shoplifters. Despite his intentions to aid law enforcement in apprehending the suspects, Mr Burrola was suspended from work and ultimately terminated.

    “I and the union rep sat down with them and they (King Soopers) recommended termination and so I got fired that day,” Mr Burrola said to media.

    “I would never let any criminal conduct slide especially when it’s happening right in front of me. All I did was just record criminals and reveal them.”

    Mr Burrola

    While Mr Burrola’s actions saw him fired, they did lead to the arrest of one of the thieves. The driver, Jorge Pantoja, was taken into police custody after Arapahoe County Sheriff’s deputies found out who owned the car. The other two suspects, however, were never found.  

    Have you been treated unfairly at work?

    Whether you have faced unfair dismissal, discrimination, bullying, harassment or other workplace rights violations, we can help. If your a victim of workplace harassment over false allegations or need representation, call us today. A Whole New Approach has been helping employees across Australia for over three decades. We can provide expert guidance to take action through the Fair Work Commission. And to help ensure you hold your employer accountable, protect your job and reputation and receive just compensation.

    Call us today for a free and confidential consultation on1800 333 666.

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