Gavyn Edlinger, formerly a manager of a Family Dollar store in Saginaw, Michigan, was at work when he noticed some people that made him concerned. Mr. Edlinger told WNEM TV5 News, "They weren't really buying anything so eventually, I asked them to leave the store. They were acting very suspicious.” He believed one of the aforementioned customers, an unidentified woman, had walked out of his store with stolen merchandise. It would be the next series of events that would gain this story national attention.
Mr. Edlinger called 911 and was instructed to see if he could get the woman’s license plate number. He followed the alleged shoplifter out of the store. Suddenly, Edlinger and the woman got into a heated argument. It seemed like it might be over, but then the Family Dollar employee sprayed Febreze at the woman and basically had a meltdown, something Mr. Edlinger admits. He told WNEM, “I just lost it. In a bad way.”
Family Dollar, while not commenting specifically on the incident, told WNEM, "The safety and security of our customers and team members is our first priority. We take situations very seriously.” Mr. Edlinger, in an interview with TMZ, said he has since been fired, “due to the incidents that had occurred.” He says Family Dollar only wants its employees to call police should they notice shoplifting, but claims that wouldn’t do anything because, “…unfortunately, in the neighborhood of where that specific store is located, the police don’t come…I worked the entire day, the police never showed up, and 911 dispatch actually called back to find out if we had the situation handled.” That being said, Mr. Edlinger did admit to WNEM, “Can’t really blame [Family Dollar], I understand the liability aspect of it.”
When TMZ asked if he regretted spraying the Febreze, the former Family Dollar employee said, “You know, here’s the thing – I would never want to create harm to anyone, but at the end of the day, like, I’m a hard-working guy, you know, I worked my way up to be a salaried store manager with that company. I don’t regret it.”
One last side note, as to why Mr. Edlinger used Febreze in that moment, he told WNEM, “That was the only item that she gave me back out of her bag.”