Officer Forgives and Buys Christmas Dinner for a Family Caught Shoplifting Groceries

When a family stole groceries from a local store, one police officer was called to deal with the crime. However, he was touched by their desperate situation and decided to do something unexpected. 

Toward the end of 2020, an officer was called out to handle an incident of shoplifting. The Somerset, Massachusetts police officer was ready to apprehend the suspects, but he never imagined what would happen next.

A few days before Christmas, two women accompanied by two young kids were accused of stealing from the Stop and Shop. Ptlm Matt Lima of the Somerset Police Department was struck by what he saw. 

THEY WERE FACING FAMILY ISSUES 

Lima shared that the group was being held by Loss and Prevention, and when he saw the four of them, he could not help but wonder about their situation. He said: “I have two girls myself, similar in age to the two girls that were there.”

The officer decided to speak with one of the women to find out more. Lima stated: “The woman I talked to, she explained she was working, but the mother of the children was not working and had some other family issues going on.”

The suspect shared that the items they stole were intended to give them a good meal on Christmas day. The officer saw what they had taken and expressed that it was only food

He said: “There was nothing else on there like health and beauty items, shampoo, anything like that … I asked an employee where the other items were that they had planned to take and was informed they were put back.”

While Lima believes all citizens should be law-abiding, he decided to give the group a chance. He shared: “Obviously, this family was in need, and I can’t imagine having to make the decision.”

The women were stunned when they discovered no charges were pressed. They were grateful for the officer’s kindness, but he was not done helping them just yet. Lima also wanted to give them something to make the festive season better. 

SHOWING THEM SOME EMPATHY 

He handed the women a $250 gift card. They were able to purchase more than enough food for Christmas. The officer said: “I just did what I felt was right. It’s not about me. I just tried to put myself in that family’s shoes and show a little bit of empathy.”

His empathetic gesture meant a lot to the group and showcased the power of one caring act. Chief George McNeil applauded Lima for helping people in need, and he was proud that the officer chose to show them some love and kindness. 

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