Police in Hillsborough, N.C., went above and beyond the call of duty after they received notice that a woman stole from a local grocery store.
Officers Keith Bradshaw and Candace Spragins were told by employees of the Food Lion supermarket that a woman was seen fleeing with stolen food on Saturday morning. They soon showed up at Theresa West’s home and demanded answers.
That’s when West told the officers that she was sorry, but stole to feed her children who had not eaten in three days.
“We called the churches and everything and everyone was like: ‘We go through Interfaith Council, we go through this and go through that and nobody would give us anything. We had nothing,” West later told WRAL News.
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“I had to go out and steal food, and that’s desperate, and I’m sorry for doing what I did but my kids were hungry.”
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Bradshaw checked the family’s fridge and found it empty. That’s when the police officers knew they had to help.
“This was not a crime out of greed but one seen as necessary by a mother trying to feed a child,” they explained in a Facebook post.
West gave back the $36 worth of food she stole. The officers then took her back to the grocery store, where they bought her $140 in food.
On Facebook, the officers explained why they helped the woman, even though she had broken the law.
“Sometimes police work is not cut and dry. We are people first and cops second.”
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The police department has received international attention for the act of kindness and asked anyone who was touched by the story to pay it forward.
“This is to ensure that maximum gain be achieved from this random act of kindness.”