Charges filed in stabbing of Loop Target employee

The worker told police he was cut Saturday when he confronted a would-be shoplifter who pulled a knife from his waistband and swung at him.

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Target, 1 S. State St. in the Loop.

Target, 1 S. State St. in the Loop.

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Charges have been filed after a Loop Target store employee was stabbed over the weekend while confronting a shoplifter.

The company said it was grateful the employee’s injuries were not life-threatening but said the “unfortunate incident” was part of an increase in theft impacting retailers.

The 25-year-old worker confronted a man he thought was shoplifting around 9 a.m. Saturday inside the store at 1 S. State St., according to Chicago police.

The man pulled a knife from his waistband and swiped at the employee’s arms, police said. The injured worker was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in good condition.

Officers arrested the suspected shoplifter, Roman Butler, 27, and charged him with aggravated battery, burglary and aggravated assault. He was expected to appear in court later Monday.

Target said in an email that “we appreciate the swift response of the store team and first responders to keep all other guests and team members safe.”

The store on Sunday returned to its normal operating hours, a spokesperson said.

With the impact of retail theft on the rise, the company said it has been working with lawmakers and police to advocate for public policy solutions.

“As demonstrated by this unfortunate incident, retail crime is an urgent issue that is increasingly impacting the team and guests at Target and other retailers,” the company said.

“Our stores create jobs, serve local shoppers and act as critical hubs in communities across the country, and we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure the safety of our stores and keep our doors open,” the company said.

Retail theft has been rising over the last three years in the downtown 42nd Ward, where the Target store is located. But reports of retail theft are still below their pre-pandemic level, according to public crime statistics.

There were 1,773 reports of retail theft in the 42nd Ward in 2022, increasing from around 1,100 in 2021 and a little over 900 in 2020. But those figures are far below the pre-pandemic theft figures of 2,263 in 2019.

Chicago was listed as the top sixth U.S. metro area affected by organized retail crime, according to a 2022 report by the National Retail Federation, an improvement over previous years.

Contributing: Allison Novelo

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