Heroic Baristas Fired After Thwarting Starbucks Robbery

Two baristas at a St. Louis Starbucks displayed extraordinary courage last month by confronting would-be robbers, only to find themselves jobless shortly after. Michael Harris and Devin Jones-Ransom, who thwarted an attempted robbery at their workplace, have brought to light the complex dynamics between employee safety, corporate policy and criminal empowerment in today’s society.

On December 17, two individuals, identified as Joshua Noe, 37, and Marquise Porter-Doyle, 35, allegedly attempted to rob the Starbucks location at 212 South Grand Boulevard. Brandishing what appeared to be firearms, they demanded employees and customers surrender their belongings.

However, the situation unexpectedly turned when one of the supposed weapons broke, revealing it to be fake. Seizing the opportunity, Harris, Jones-Ransom, and a patron heroically subdued one of the assailants until police arrived. At the same time, Porter-Doyle managed to flee, only to be apprehended later.

Despite the baristas’ brave response, potentially saving lives and the store’s assets, Starbucks chose to fire Harris and Jones-Ransom. In a statement, the company emphasized that the safety and wellbeing of their “partners” — employees — and customers are paramount, insisting that all partners follow protocols designed to ensure safety during such situations. However, the lack of specific reasons for the termination provided to the employees raises questions about the company’s stance on self-defense and employee protection.

Ryan Krupp, the attorney representing Harris, stated, “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.” Krupp also pointed out that Harris complied with the robbers’ demands until it was no longer feasible, acting out of fear for his life and those of others. Harris said he wanted to do the right thing as a person and an employee.

During the Biden administration, there has been a noticeable surge in retail theft, leaving businesses increasingly victimized. This rise in criminal boldness, possibly fueled by lax punishment from courts and prosecutors, poses a significant threat to the safety and security of businesses and their patrons. Moreover, the response of large corporations like Starbucks in such situations seems to prioritize liability and “equity” concerns over protecting their workers and customers.

Here is a report from the time of the attempted robbery last month: