Mass. cop buys Christmas dinner for family after shoplifting call

Officer Matthew Lima noticed the women had been taking only food items and suspected the attempted theft came out of necessity

By Suzie Ziegler 

SOMERSET, Mass. — A Somerset police officer is being recognized for his kindness and holiday spirit after he helped a shoplifter feed her family. 

The bittersweet story unfolded five days before Christmas when Officer Matthew Lima responded to a call at a grocery store. 

Lima tells WCVB that shoplifting is one of the most common calls at retail stores. But this incident stood out to him.

According to WCVB, two women with two children were reported scanning just a few items at self-checkout but bagging everything in their shopping cart. 

"It was a little bit different from the get-go because not too many people engage in that type of behavior with their young children there," Lima said. 

Lima noticed all the scanned products were consumable food items. He asked the woman if her attempted theft came out of necessity. 

"She stated that, obviously it goes without saying, that times are tough for a lot of people, that she was working but not enough and didn't make enough money and that there were some other family issues going on and that she just wanted to provide a Christmas dinner for the kids," Lima said. 

The officer issued the women a trespassing notice but decided not to file charges, according to WCVB. After escorting the women out of the store, Lima went back inside. 

"I just made the decision that I was going to purchase the gift cards and they could go to a different Stop and Shop and buy their Christmas dinner for their girls," he said. 

Lima told WCVB that he has two children around the same age himself. 

"We have the ability to adapt to many things," he said. "But also, we just need to be there for each other and be there for our neighbors."

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