November 30, 2016 6:35 pm

Grocery store owner invites shoplifter back; offers food to suspect’s family

WATCH ABOVE: Instead of calling police when a store owner saw on surveillance footage a man stealing from his store, he decided to offer the suspect some help with any items he needed. Joe McHale has the story.

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A grocery store owner in Spokane, Wash. invited a shoplifter he caught on camera stealing from his store back in order to give him more food.

Sergio De Leon of De Leon Foods has extended a helping hand to a man who took items from his store on Nov. 28.

“Everybody goes through hard times,” said De Leon to NBC affiliate, KHQ news. “I was there myself.”

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Surveillance footage showed the moment a customer walked out the back exit of the grocery store with unpaid items, including milk, in a basket.

Instead of calling police, De Leon took to social media in hopes of the suspect stumbling upon his message.

The Facebook post read in part:

“To the guy that decided to take merchandize [sic] out the back door on Monday night without paying…please come and see me and I will see that your family gets these groceries without you getting in trouble.”

De Leon said he knows what it’s like needing help, telling KHQ he grew up going to food banks with his father as a child.

“I kind of wanted to show this individual that there are places out there where he can go for help,” said De Leon to KHQ. “I think we can help him out also.”

According to KHQ, the suspect has yet to return to the store but De Leon said he hopes his message of kindness inspires others to donate to food banks so people don’t have to resort to stealing.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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