CVS Shoplifter Strangled Over Toothpaste

By Prescott Carlson in News on May 10, 2010 8:40PM

2010_05_10_cvs.jpg
Photo by mechanikat
A shoplifter at the CVS Pharmacy in the Little Village neighborhood got more than he bargained for after boosting tubes of toothpaste from the store shelves. According to the Sun-Times, Anthony Kyser entered the CVS on the 2600 block of South Pulaski on Saturday morning and placed items in his jacket. Employees noticed the theft, and chased Kyser into the alley behind the store where he was caught. Witnesses say one employee, later identified as a store manager, put Kyser into a chokehold while three other men restrained him. When police arrived on the scene, they found him unconscious, and Kyser was declared dead 45 minutes later at Mount Sinai Hospital.

While the medical examiner declared the death a homicide after an autopsy, police are calling the incident an "accidental death" and are not pursuing murder charges against the CVS employee, a move the reportedly has Kyser's family outraged:

"Why would you kill someone over toothpaste?" his ex-wife, Ann Balboa, said through tears Sunday.

"Why would you even chase them, and how is this not murder -- it doesn't make sense."

The family also told the paper that while Kyser has had his share of "ups and downs" and has spent time in prison for drug offenses, his death was unjustified. They plan on suing the CVS chain in civil court.

The Sun-Times also spoke to two witnesses whose homes back onto the alley where the incident took place who say that an off-duty police officer was involved. They claim the woman told Kyser she was an officer, drew her weapon, and told him to stop fighting the CVS employees' attempts to restrain him. She then reportedly went back to her car to make a phone call. Chicago Police spokesman John Mirabelli was quoted as questioning this report, saying that they "have no indication of CPD involvement."

CVS is investigating the incident internally, and today placed the employee responsible on leave.