Reports indicate that a shoplifter at a Home Depot in Hillsborough, North Carolina, made off with stolen goods recently — but not before he brutally shoved an 82-year-old employee who later died from his injuries.
According to Gary Rasor’s widow, Yovone, he believed that the masked man in the garden section of the home improvement store was the same individual who had committed multiple previous thefts at the location.
“He knows the guy is a thief,” she said. “He’s been there. He’s seen him in the store before.”
When Rasor saw the suspected shoplifter attempt to walk out with a shopping cart filled with expensive pressure washers, he stepped in to try to stop the man. The suspect reacted by shoving the elderly employee and making a quick getaway.
Rasor fell back and hit his head on a pot, resulting in skull fractures and an extended series of hospital treatments. Although he began to recover and lived to see his 83rd birthday, he suffered a heart attack on the day before Thanksgiving and died last week, just days before he and his wife were scheduled to visit their grandchildren for the holidays.
According to a subsequent police report, Rasor’s death was caused by “complications from the injuries received” in the prior attack. A medical examiner’s report determined that he died as a result of homicide.
The victim’s stepdaughter, Leigh Bucholtz, has shifted her focus from caring for her stepfather to advocating for justice.
“My first priority was Gary and his care,” she said. “But now that he’s passed, my next priority and the best way to honor Gary is to catch his attacker.”
His son, Jeff, declared that it is “just beyond our comprehension that someone would do this for a couple of power washers.”
Home Depot provided a statement confirming that employees are “heartbroken” by the tragic development, adding that Rasor “was part of our team for more than nine years” and “was an amazing friend, husband, father and grandfather, always willing to help anyone.”
As of the latest updates available, authorities were still searching for the suspect, identified as an approximately 6-foot-tall Black male driving a white Hyundai Sonata. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is encouraged to contact the investigator in charge of the case by calling 919-296-9562.