A Florida mom was caught trying to shoplift groceries, only to end up with food and a ride home from a kind-hearted police officer, according to news reports.
Miami-Dade Police Officer Vicki Thomas was dispatched to a shoplifting case at a Publix grocery store, where a store manager led her to Jessica Robles.
“She was crying. I said, ‘Okay, what did she take?’ He pointed to a cart that was full of groceries,” said Thomas. “I’ve been on [the job] 23 years, and I went, wow.”
“She just filled up the cart and walked out, which shocked me,” the officer recalled. “She said, ‘My children were hungry.' And that immediately impacted me.”
Thomas recalled that Robles told her through tears, “I’d love to be able to tell you I’ll never do this again, but I can’t because my children are hungry.”
“My grandchildren flashed before my eyes,” Thomas told ABC News. “I knew at that time what I was going to do. I knew I was going to buy her groceries.”
Thomas and her partner on the police force took the woman to their car, completed her paperwork. Then she asked her to wait a few minutes.
“I grabbed my debit card, ran back into the store and bought things that would sustain her for a week or so," the officer said of her act of kindness.
"When I walked out she saw I had the cart of groceries and she burst out in tears and asked if she could hug me, which is kind of unusual for the suspect to be hugging the officer."
But, she said, “I let her hug me.”
Thomas made it clear that she did arrest Robles, but that the woman had no priors for shoplifting and the amount of goods she tried to steal cost under $300.
Because that's the cut-off for a misdemeanor, it was up to Thomas whether to arrest her or give her the misdemeanor and get a promise to appear in court.
She chose the latter. The woman didn’t have a car, so Thomas loaded the $100 worth of groceries into the police car and the officers gave her a ride home.
“I’m a full-service cop,” Thomas joked.
And a compassionate one.