Fox News - When a Massachusetts cop saw what two women were trying to steal from a grocery store five days before Christmas, their plight touched his heart.
"It was all food," he observed.
So instead of arresting them, he bought a $250 gift card to pay for their Christmas dinner.
Officer Matt Lima of the Somerset Police Department said he responded to a call at the local Stop & Shop and was told the women had been caught skipping the scanner at the self-checkout line, putting several items straight into their bags. The suspected shoplifters were with two young children.
"I have two girls myself, similar in age to the two girls that were there, so it kind of struck me a little bit," Lima told local NBC affiliate WJAR.
He was further moved when he learned that the mother of the kids had no job, and the food they were stealing was for their holiday dinner.
"There was nothing else in 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 store issued the women a "no trespass" order.
Somerset Police Chief George McNeil praised the officer in a statement that called the incident "a true testament of Officer Lima’s great character and decision-making."