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Police Officer Pays For Family's Christmas Dinner After They Were Caught Shoplifting Food

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Police Officer Pays For Family's Christmas Dinner After They Were Caught Shoplifting Food

A police officer paid for a family's Christmas dinner rather than charge two women for shoplifting.

Matt Lima, of Somerset, Massachusetts, was called to a Stop and Shop supermarket on 20 December when security guards saw two women failing to scan items in the self-checkout.

After being approached, the guards found that a number of items were missing from their receipts, and told the women to wait for the police.

When officer Lima arrived, he spoke to the women while staff at the store distracted the kids.

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He found that they had been struggling financially, and were stealing so that they could give their kids a Christmas dinner.

Speaking to WJAR, officer Lima said: "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.

The two women were caught stealing at a Stop and Shop. Credit: Google Street View
The two women were caught stealing at a Stop and Shop. Credit: Google Street View

"The two children with the women reminded me of my kids, so I had to help them out.

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"Obviously, this family was in need and I can't imagine having to make the decision to go to Stop and Shop and just only pay for what I can afford - or do I go there and try to take things for Christmas dinner for the kids?"

Officer Lima then ordered the women not to trespass, and gave them $250 (£178) worth of gift cards, paid for with his own money, so they could buy the food for Christmas at another Stop and Shop store.

He said: "They were very thankful, they were kind of shocked.

"I'm sure a lot of people in that same situation would be thinking that there was going to be a different outcome, and maybe they would be arrested or have to go to court."

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Somerset Police Chief George McNeil praised officer Lima for his conduct and compassion.

He said: "This incident is a true testament of Officer Lima's great character and decision making.

"His actions exemplify what it means to protect and serve the members of our community."

But while most just assume police officers are there to break up trouble and arrest criminals, there are lots of examples of cops like Mr Lima going out of their way just to lend a helping hand.

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Back in 2018, a Florida police officer rightly received plaudits for helping a homeless guy to have a shave ahead of a job interview.

Officer Tony Carlson was praised for helping a homeless man. Credit: Facebook/City of Tallahassee Police Department
Officer Tony Carlson was praised for helping a homeless man. Credit: Facebook/City of Tallahassee Police Department

Tony Carlson, who works for the City of Tallahassee Police Department, spotted the man having a bit of a struggle with his razor in a petrol station on Sunday.

The homeless man, called Phil, said that he had bought the razor because someone from McDonald's had said to him that if he showed up to the restaurant on Monday with his face cleanly shaven, he could have a job.

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So, Carlson gave him a hand and helped him to shave off his beard.

Featured Image Credit: Somerset Police Department

Topics: Christmas, Inspirational, US News

Dominic Smithers
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