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Instead of Arresting 2 Women for Shoplifting, Police Officer Buys Them Christmas Dinner



  • Massachusetts Police Officer Matt Lima decided to help a family who couldn’t afford to buy Christmas dinner.
  • Matt talked to one of the two women who shoplifted and learned that they stole to buy Christmas groceries for the kids.
  • Police Chief George McNeil praised the officer, saying “his actions exemplify what it means to protect and serve the members of our community.”

The Christmas spirit lives on.

A Massachusetts police officer put his compassion before the law when he gave shoplifters a $250 gift card to a local Stop & Shop location for Christmas dinner.

On December 20, Somerset Police Officer Matt Lima responded to a shoplift incident at a Stop & Shop grocery store — where two women, who had two children with them, were caught stealing.

At self-checkout, the women did not scan all of the items they got and several items on their receipt were missing, based on a police report.

Photo Credit: WPTV News/YouTube

When Matt arrived at the store, he talked to one of them and asked her about what happened. The children, then, were being kept busy by store employees.

“The woman I talked to, she explained she was working, but the mother of the children was not working and had some other family issues going on and that what she had taken was Christmas dinner for the kids,” Matt told local news station WJAR.

Based on the receipt, Matt believed that the women were only trying to buy groceries. “Obviously, this family was in need and I can’t imagine having to make the decision to go to Stop & Shop and just only pay for what I can afford — or do I go there and try to take things for Christmas dinner for the kids?” he said.

Matt said he wanted to help them as the children reminded him of his kids. He issued the women with Notice Not To Trespass forms instead of charging them with shoplifting.

Photo Credit: Somerset Police Department

“They were very thankful, they were kind of shocked. I’m sure a lot of people in that same situation would be thinking that there was going to be a different outcome, and maybe they would be arrested or have to go to court,” the officer told WJAR.

In a statement, Police Chief George McNeil lauded Matt’s act: “His actions exemplify what it means to protect and serve the members of our community. When faced with a difficult situation in which a family was trying to provide a meal for their kids, he made the generous decision to not press charges and instead ensured that they would have a Christmas dinner they could enjoy.”

True enough, Matt modeled true community service.


Source: PEOPLE