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Fla. cop catches shoplifter, buys her groceries

The officer knew that arresting the mother would not help the hungry children waiting at home

By PoliceOne Staff

MIAMI — A single mom struggling to feed her family was caught shoplifting at a Miami grocery store in September, but the responding officer decided to help her by purchasing groceries for her.

Officer Vicki Thomas responded to a call that Jessica Robles tried walking out of a grocery store with $300 of food, according to CNN.

Thomas checked Robles’ criminal history and found no prior charges. Thomas charged her with a misdemeanor for the theft.

"I made the decision to buy her some groceries because arresting her wasn't going to solve the problem with her children being hungry," said Thomas, a 23-year veteran of the Miami-Dade police.

Thomas bought Robles $100 worth of groceries, according to the report.

"To see them go through the bags when we brought them in, it was like Christmas," Thomas said. "That $100 to me was worth it."

The family lost their federal assistance due to a paperwork error, and Robles’ boyfriend lost his job. Soon they ran out of money, Robles said.

Thomas made Robles aware of the local food banks and churches in the area that she could get food, and asked that she pay it forward once she was back on her feet.

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