Greenfield, WI – A man who admitted to shoplifting $275 in video games from a Walmart says the man who stopped him and held him until police arrived should be punished.
Christopher Simpson was leaving Walmart after he put 10 to 15 video games in his coat. He pushed past a Walmart employee when a customer tackled him, according to WGN.
"Me and my girlfriend decided to steal some video games from the place, and I was the one to walk out with them and she was to come out behind me," Simpson told WGN. "I'm unemployed and I guess I needed the money, or the merchandise or whatever, but that's no excuse for my criminal behavior."
"I was just trying to make it out of there alive. I don't know what possessed this guy to do this," Simpson said, according to WGN. “I think what he did was wrong and he should be punished for it.”
"I hit the floor with my head and basically after that he put me down and he laid on top of me. I could barely breathe," said Simpson, according to WGN.
The customer, Mark Hammer, was a former high school football player who played on the defensive line. Hammer said that Simpson said he was going to have him arrested for assaulting him.
"I told him well I'm not assaulting you I'm just holding you until the cops get here,” Hammer told WGN.
Simpson has a lengthy criminal record, according to WGN, but he said that was the first time he tried shoplifting.
He was treated for injuries to his head and ribs and then taken to jail. He was charged with one count of retail theft. Simpson is out on bond.
"This would've turned out differently if I was seriously injured because he wouldn't have walked away clean," Simpson said, according to WGN.
Citizen's arrests across the country are generally governed by case law on a state by state basis.
Most states allow citizen's arrests of felons and people committing violent misdemeanors in the presence of the person making the arrest.
In Wisconsin, it's not legal for a random customer to detain a non-violent shoplifter. However, Simpson shoved a Walmart employee which would have given Hammer legal standing to make a citizen's arrest.