michael jacobs family
© GofundmeMichael Jacobs (pictured with his wife and two kids) was shot and killed by a suspected shoplifter while working a nighttime shift as a CVS operations manager at a location in Arizona.
A CVS store manager was killed on the job by a man suspected of shoplifting, police say — the latest example of a US retail theft epidemic that is becoming increasingly deadly.

Michael Jacobs, 49 — an operations manager at CVS Pharmacy in Mesa, Ariz., where he had worked for the past 20-plus years — was shot and killed allegedly by Jared Sevey in the evening hours of Sept. 7, according to KKTV 11 News.

Sevey, 39, was reportedly inside the Arizona CVS location earlier that day, arguing with Jacobs about shoplifting, KKTV reported. After the conflict, Sevey went home to get a gun.

Sevey admitted to police that he shot Jacobs because he was "tired of being bullied," and "this was the last straw," according to the news outlet.

The Post has sought comment from CVS, which has already resorted to installing built-in locks on freezer doors and putting padlocks around necessities like deodorant and toothbrushes at its locations in major US cities.

Jacobs left behind two children and his wife of 23 years, Stacy. Jacobs' family has started a GoFundMe page, saying that "CVS has not even reached out to us to discuss medical expenses along with funeral expenses." The GoFundMe has already collected over 200 donations totaling $15,402.

It's the latest incident in a lethal trend. In April, a 26-year-old Home Depot employee was fatally shot after confronting a woman attempting to steal from the home improvement retailer's Pleasanton store, located in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to KKTV.

Just days earlier, a pregnant shoplifter at a Walgreens in Nashville was shot by a staffer following a confrontation over stolen merchandise that resulted in an exchange of Mace and bullets. The wounded mother-to-be was rushed to the hospital, where doctors performed an emergency C-section, saving the baby and 24-year-old mother's life.

The Walgreens worker was later charged by the Davidson County District Attorney's Office with aggravated assault, but a grand jury declined to indict him earlier this week. The new mother, meanwhile, was indicted for theft and assault.

Representatives for Home Depot and Walgreens didn't immediately respond to The Post's request for comment.

Stories of seemingly consequence-free shoplifting are everywhere: There's an epidemic of drugstore thefts in New York, and a "landmark" grocery store in Baltimore shut its doors after nearly 25 years after a community desperate for fresh food resorted to simply stealing it.

Experts have blamed the surge on lax policies — including the passage of Prop 47 in California, which reduced theft from a potential felony to a misdemeanor — as well as calls to defund the police in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd, which resulted in a mass exodus of cops nationwide.

In New York City, dubbed a "shoplifter's paradise" by some fed-up local politicians, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has faced blowback over his not requesting bail for some repeat shoplifting suspects. Bragg also has refused to bust thieves unless they pilfer items exceeding $1,000 in value, which is when theft becomes a felony.

A furor erupted in July after CVS worker Scotty Enoe, 46, fatally knifed Charles Brito after the 50-year-old serial thief punched him. "Can Alvin Bragg maybe help with that?" fumed City Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island). "He just chooses not to prosecute and we end up with vigilante justice."

With no nationwide policy on how to deal with shoplifting, many employers have encouraged staffers to do nothing at all in an effort to keep them out of harm's way.

Lululemon became notorious for its hands-off policy after the athletic gear company axed two employees who called the police while three masked men robbed a Georgia outpost.

The company cited its "zero-tolerance policy" for intervening in a robbery as a reason for firing the workers, whom Lululemon refers to as "educators."

A Walmart in Atlanta, meanwhile, will be installing a police "workspace" inside the store when it opens in May. The grocery store and pharmacy previously closed after it was set on fire by suspected arsonists.

The shoplifting epidemic cost retailers nearly $100 billion in 2021, and the number of shoplifting complaints surged to more than 63,000 last year — a 45% jump over the roughly 45,000 reported in 2021 and a nearly 275% jump compared to the mid-2000s, police statistics show.

Now, Bragg in New York is reportedly working to snuff out shoplifting by going after repeat offenders. Part of his plan includes "focused deterrence," meaning pre-trial detention will be requested for accused thieves who have prior felony convictions, multiple open cases and a history of skipping out on court dates.

New York also has implemented an initiative dubbed the Merchants Business Improvement Program, which allows business owners to get restraining orders against suspects who repeatedly come into their stores and steal or harass workers, officials said last month.