Life
Cop performs act of kindness for women who were caught shoplifting
Officer Lima could have arrested the women for attempting to steal items from a grocery store. However, after talking with them he decided to do what "felt right" instead.
Patricia Lynn
11.24.21

Taking care of a family is hard on its own. But when you’re struggling financially it makes things even more difficult, and a parent might make poor choices if it means putting food on their table.

A couple of women from Somerset, Massachusetts decided to steal in order to feed their family a special meal.

YouTube - WPTV News - FL Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast
Source:
YouTube - WPTV News - FL Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast

It was just five days before Christmas when the ladies headed into a grocery store with a couple of kids.

While there, they made a bad decision and the police were called.

Officer Matt Lima, from the Somerset Police Department, was sent out to handle the shoplifting incident, which took place at a local Stop & Shop.

YouTube - WPTV News - FL Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast
Source:
YouTube - WPTV News - FL Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast

The officer was available and close enough that he could immediately speed over to lend a hand.

Since it was close to Christmas, he must have expected that someone was being reported for stealing health and beauty supplies right before the holidays. Or perhaps other items that could be given as gifts.

Unsplash - freestocks
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Unsplash - freestocks

Once there, Officer Lima discovered that wasn’t the case.

Lima spoke to an asset protection associate who claimed to have witnessed two women with two young children shoplifting. The associate said they used the self-check-out line and were only ringing up some of their purchases. They’d put other items in bags without scanning them.

YouTube - WPTV News - FL Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast
Source:
YouTube - WPTV News - FL Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast

Lima caught up to the women before they left the parking lot and checked their receipts, finding out the associate was correct. Both women were asked to wait inside while another associate kept the children busy so they wouldn’t hear what was going on.

The women told Officer Lima a story he wouldn’t forget.

Officer Lima had been on shoplifting cases before and he might have expected the women to double down and claim it was all a mistake. But they broke down crying and explained that they had fallen down on hard times in 2020.

He told WJAR:

“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 and that what she had taken was Christmas dinner for the kids.”

Unsplash - Libby Penner
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Unsplash - Libby Penner

They couldn’t afford to give their children a nice Christmas dinner and saw no other option.

Officer Lima could tell they were being honest when he took another look at the receipts and the stolen items.

“There was nothing else on there like health and beauty items, shampoo, anything like that, It was all food.”

YouTube - WPTV News - FL Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast
Source:
YouTube - WPTV News - FL Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast

Officer Lima was touched by their story.

Officer Lima believed them, because he knew how hard the year’s events had hit the country. Millions of Americans fell on hard times with unemployment rates rising as high as 14.7% back in April 2020. So he could believe that these women were good people who made the hard choice in a terrible situation.

He could also see himself in the exact same situation. He said:

“I have two girls myself, similar in age to the two girls who were there. So it kind of struck me a little bit.”

Unsplash - gemma
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Unsplash - gemma

So Officer Lima did something incredibly kind.

The officer didn’t arrest the women and he talked with the store and convinced them to not press charges. He did warn them to not trespass at the location. Letting the shoplifters go was extraordinary enough, but then he took it one step further.

YouTube - WPTV News - FL Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast
Source:
YouTube - WPTV News - FL Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast

He went into the store and purchased a $250 gift card and gave it to the women so they could buy what they needed from another store without the children being the wiser.

Officer Lima explained his actions to WJAR, saying:

“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.”

YouTube - WPTV News - FL Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast
Source:
YouTube - WPTV News - FL Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast

The officer’s act of kindness didn’t go unnoticed, and it’s warmed hearts across the nation. Especially during this joyous season, we should all be doing what we can to help others.

Watch the video below to see more on this beautiful act of kindness!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Source: WJAR, YouTube – WPTV News – FL Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast

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By Patricia Lynn
hi@sbly.com
Patricia Lynn is a senior writer at Shareably. Patricia is based out of San Francisco and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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