Matt Lima Somerset Police Officer buys Christmas dinner for Massachusetts family caught stealing groceries for their children.
A Massachusetts cop has been hailed a hero after dipping into his own wallet to purchase $250 in Christmas groceries for two women suspected of shoplifting to feed a pair of youngsters last month, cops said.
Officer Matt Lima made the purchase at Stop & Shop in Somerset, Mass., on Dec. 20, after he arrived at the store and was told that the women had failed to scan all their groceries at a self-serve checkout, according to the town’s police department.
The two women, who were struggling financially and were planning a holiday meal for the children, received notices not to trespass but were not charged with a crime, cops said.
‘The two children with the women reminded me of my kids, so I had to help them out,’ Lima said in astatement.
‘It was all food,’ Lima observed of the stolen items.
‘…great character and decision making’
‘I have two girls myself, similar on age to the two girls that were there, so it kind of struck me a little bit,’ Lima told WJAR.
He was moved when he learned that the mother of the two kids had no job, and the food they were stealing was for their holiday dinner. ‘There was nothing else on there like health and beauty items, shampoo, anything like that. It was all food,’ he said. ‘I just tried to put myself in that family’s shoes and show a little bit of empathy.’
The Somerset Police Department said Lima bought a gift card for the suspects to use at another Stop & Shop after the groceries were returned to the store’s shelves.
‘I would like to personally commend Officer Lima for his actions,’ Chief George McNeil said in a statement. ‘His actions exemplify what it means to protect and serve the members of our community.’
Adding, ‘This incident is a true testament of Officer Lima’s great character and decision making.’
Somerset is in Southeastern Massachusetts, about 20 miles east of Providence, R.I.