Woman fired after robbery

Published 7:05 pm Saturday, April 3, 2010

The district manager of a local Kangaroo gas station fired an employee after she was robbed last week.

Rebecca Fitzgerald, 56, says she was fired because there was too much money in her drawer, which allowed the robber to get away with about $100.

Fitzgerald, who has had to have back and neck surgeries because of cancer, now will be living just off her disability payments unless she can find another job.

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She says she worked alone that night, and did not have time to make enough deposits to the safe.

“It was Friday night and, you know, lotto night,” Fitzgerald said. “I can’t say how much I had dropped, but I had dropped a whole lot already, and with everything they expect you to do, you just can’t get to everything.”

In addition to helping customers and selling lottery tickets, she was required to keep the coffee pot filled, keep hot dogs warm, clean the hot dog machine and other maintenance.

She was cleaning the hot dog machine, with her back to the door, when the man — who has yet to be arrested — came in and said, “This is a robbery.”

“I was just trying to do too many things at one time,” Fitzgerald said. “They need two people on that shift, instead of trying to run a third shift that they have no need for. If there had been another person there, it wouldn’t have happened.”

Fitzgerald said the district manager, not the store-level manager, fired her. A call to company headquarters in Cary, N.C., on Friday afternoon was not returned.

“That was my livelihood,” Fitzgerald said. “You can’t live off of disability. There’s no way.”

She said getting robbed and then getting fired was “two whammies.”

“He stood there with a gun and you could see the bullets in the chamber,” Fitzgerald said. “That just freaked me out.”

Police still are searching for the man who robbed the store. Witnesses described the suspect as a white male in his early 20s, 5’6” to 5’8” tall, 140 to 155 pounds. He was wearing a black hoodie-type sweatshirt with the hood pulled up, a black ski mask, black pants and black shoes.

Anyone who has information is asked to call Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP. Callers to Crime Line never have to give their names or appear in court, and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.