Massachusetts store shoplifters get gift card instead of charges

National News

(WJAR) — A call to police about a shoplifting incident has turned into something much bigger for an officer in Massachusetts who felt the punishment didn’t necessarily fit the crime.

Instead of charging two women with shoplifting Christmas dinner, Patrolman Matthew Lima bought the women a gift card.

Lima was dispatched to the local Stop & Shop for reported theft. Lima learned the women were with two children. The adults were being detained by the store’s loss prevention department.

“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 said.

When Lima got to the store, he pulled one of the adults aside. Lima checked with the store and the receipt while the kids were kept occupied.

“There was nothing else on there like health and beauty items shampoo anything like that it was all food.”

Lima says the women admitted what they did was wrong. The women were issued a “no trespass” order from the store, but Lima decided not to charge them. Instead he bought them a $250 gift card with his own money so they could go to another store and feed their family.

“I just did what I felt was right. I just tried to put myself in that family’s shoes and show a little bit of empathy,” Lima said.

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