What presumably began as a late-night prank ended with a Cumberland Farms clerk critically injured after trying to save a couple of life-sized David Hasselhoff cutouts from thieves. The 36-year-old employee noticed a black SUV pull up to the gas station and convenience store in Shelton, Connecticut, at about 1:30am on Tuesday and its occupants begin cutting down the advertisements from a light pole, police said.
The cutouts play on the former "Baywatch" star's camp factor to promote iced coffee dubbed "iced Hoffee" by Cumberland Farms, and it's proven so popular that about 550 of the giant cutouts have been stolen in the Northeast since the advertising campaign began.
In Shelton's Hasselhoff theft, two men and one woman in the SUV got the cutouts into the vehicle, said Shelton police Lt. Robert Kozlowsky.
As they were fleeing the scene, the vehicle struck the clerk and dragged him before throwing him backwards onto his head. The incident left the clerk in critical condition.
He was not immediately identified by officials.
Police are reviewing surveillance footage and asking for tips to help solve a crime that, if not for its unfortunate ending, would likely have been of more interest to pranksters posting photos of themselves with Hasselhoff signs on the internet than to police.
Carin Warner, spokeswoman for Cumberland Farms said their policy is for employees to err on the side of personal safety when faced with any type of crime in a store rather than intervene.
"Our primary policy is to have our employees stay safe," she said. "That's across the board."
"Obviously, this is a very unfortunate situation and we're doing everything we can to cooperate with the police to try and find the individuals," Warner said.