SOMERSET, Mass. (NewsNation Now) — A Massachusetts police officer purchased dinner for a family accused of shoplifting at a grocery store days before Christmas, according to the Somerset Police Department.
Officer Matt Lima responded to Stop & Shop, 815 Grand Army Highway, for a report of a shoplifting in progress. When he arrived, the store associate told him that he observed two women with two young children allegedly not scanning all of their groceries and then putting them into shopping bags at the self-checkout kiosks. The associate then printed the transaction receipt and noticed numerous items they took were missing.
During Lima’s investigation, he learned the women fell upon hard times and attempted to take additional groceries they did not have enough money to pay for so they could provide a Christmas dinner for the two young children.
Instead of pressing charges, Lima served the women ‘Notice Not to Trespass forms’ and purchased, with his own money, gift cards totaling $250 so the women would be able to purchase groceries for their Christmas dinner at another Stop & Shop location.
Officer Lima informed the store associate that he would not be pressing criminal charges as all the missing items on their receipt were groceries.
“The two children with the women reminded me of my kids, so I had to help them out,” Officer Lima said.
Lima was praised by Somerset Police Chief George McNeil.
“I would like to personally commend Officer Lima for his actions,” Chief McNeil said. “His actions exemplify what it means to protect and serve the members of our community…This incident is a true testament of Officer Lima’s great character and decision making.”