British Columbia

Alleged riot looter fired from job

A company that fired an employee involved in the June 15 Vancouver riot says its decision was a response to pressure from the public.
A woman runs out of a looted store carrying merchandise during the Vancouver riot. ((CBC))

A company that fired an employee involved in the June 15 Vancouver riot says its decision was a response to pressure from the public.

Sales manager Patrick Almeida, of Burrard Acura in Vancouver, said he terminated the employment of Camille Cacnio after receiving complaints about her behaviour during the riot.

"Saturday morning, I received an email saying that one of our employees was involved in the looting downtown," Almeida told CBC News Wednesday.

That message was followed by a flurry of others, he said, "from threatening phone calls to threatening emails, to upset emails, upset phone calls."

"It's been pretty ugly."

Cacnio had been seen on a widely distributed video, running out of a store during the riot, carrying apparently looted merchandise.

The University of British Columbia student had worked weekends at Burrard Acura for two years. 

"She was here. I talked to her. I asked her 'what's this,'" Almeida said. "She really looked at me dumbfounded." 

He said he fired Cacnio on the spot.

Public apology

The same day, Cacnio confessed to police and issued a public apology.

A website professes to have outed Cacnio as a looter. ((CBC))

Almeida said sorry or not, he can't employ someone who's been caught apparently stealing. 

The public relations problem of employing someone caught up in the riot is facing a number of employers, said David Litherland, of the employee recruiting company Summit Search Group BC.   

"We're hearing reports the public is now finding out where some of these individuals actually work and they're boycotting those places," said Litherland.

If their bottom line is threatened, employers can dismiss people proven to have been involved in the riot.

But Litherland said firing is not the only recourse.

"Another option may be just a leave of absence," he said. "Let's get that person out of the workplace.… Just take a hiatus. Let's wait for the dust to settle."

With files from the CBC's Belle Puri