Single Mom Caught Shoplifting Gets Touching Surprise From Cops

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It's not easy being a single mother. Besides the social stigma that still exists, the judgmental attitudes, the sheer difficulty of finding the time to parent and work, there are the economic realities. Let's face it, not all fathers are helping out as much as they absolutely should financially, and that can leave the mom in the lurch. When one mom got desperate for the stuff she needed for her kids, she resorted to shoplifting. Definitely not an excuse, but it happened. However, after police were called to the scene -- where the mom was with her two children -- she got the surprise of her life.

Police were called to a K-Mart in West Virginia, and when they arrived they found a single mother who had shoplifted several items. But the items were clearly not for herself. In fact, the people she had stolen for were with her: Her 7-year-old daughter and her 2-year-old daughter. Said one of the officers:

She didn't take anything to benefit herself. She had only taken baby diapers, rash cream, and some clothes for her children, because she said she was going through kind of a rough divorce and her husband wasn't really helping out.

We all know how expensive diapers are!

The two cops, Ryan Willard and Duane Fields, were so touched they decided to buy the items for the woman. Now those are two men who were brought up right!

Wouldn't this be a great world if everyone occasionally reached out to help those in need? It's awesome that the cops, instead of sticking to the letter of the law, looked at the case individually for what it was -- a mom trying to help her babies, even though she was going the wrong way about it. We need more officers like this. We need more people like this.

The mom was so astonished and touched by what they did that she asked what she could do for them. Willard replied, "Try not to shoplift again."

K-Mart, however, did not drop the charges and the mom was fined $50. This is unfortunate since an arrest could prevent her from getting a job. But I realize that stores can't give away freebies to everyone who wants them or their shelves would be bare. But it would be helpful if a huge corporation like that could have some social outreach in their stores. Or point the mom to where she can get help. Her two daughters should not be watching her steal. She shouldn't be desperate enough that she has to steal.

And a big thank-you to those officers, eh? Being a cop isn't all about collaring bad guys and putting people in the clink. It's also about being good, honorable, and helpful. They seem to realize that.

What should have happened to this mom?

Image via garbagebabe42/Flickr


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jrphelps jrphelps

I just read an article about a diaper bank in Detroit for child & adult diapers.  I thought this was an amazing idea.  What I found surprising though was the figure that people spend $20 a week on diapers for 1 child.  I come from dual income household & we REFUSE to buy name brand.  We spend less than $10 a week.  I don't know what I would do if I couldn't afford diapers.

nonmember avatar Krystal

There's no reason to steal theres programs everywhere that help, they shouldn't have bought her shit. I have been there single with 2 kids struggling and laid off did i steal? No I went to the programs and they helped with diapers and food and clothes and then I got a damn job.

NatAndCo NatAndCo

Private programs would probably help but government programs can be tricky if you're going through a divorce. they require a lot of information, paperwork, and requirements that can be especially hard to get/meet.

Chana... Chanandler.Bong

This is a lovely story about kindness and grace. We should recognize that there are many in need of this country, and be grateful if we are not in a similar situation. I'm so thankful that there are many good people in this world who help others first instead of judging. This world would be a much better place if we all extended such grace to others.

nonmember avatar Cassandra Urban

Krystal.... where these programs everywhere? there might be program such as WIC, Food Share, and a few others but resources are limited. assistance can be tricky to get, and most of the time there's a waiting period before you receive any kind of assistance. If your child needs diapers today, a program that's going to give you something in two weeks isn't going to help. As a single mom, I empathize with this woman 100%. Stealing wasn't the right choice; however, when it comes to your kids...most parents will do anything to at least get them the necessities.


Based on what she was stealing, I felt sorry for her.  Working in retail has made me very cynical of the public.  But, as the policemen noticed, she wasn't stealing frivolous stuff--she could have been in between paychecks and like another poster pointed out, the father was not helping and some programs give you blues if you try to apply.  I am sending a round of applause to these Men in Black [I think now policemen uniforms are mainly black--no longer blue]clapping

danie... danielleapril

krystle, if shes going through a divorce it is very likely that she cant get help by these programs. my sister tried to get assistance when her husband left her, but since she was married they took his financial status into consideration and refused her even though he hadnt helped out financially in months its a tough spot to be in

lulou lulou

The diaper issue is a tough one, particularily because if you are trying to work a daycare would require them.

kelti... kelticmom

I admire the officers. Yes, she should not have stolen, but clearly she felt desperate, as all she took was only for her kids. This is clearly a story of grace shown by others. She still had to pay for her crime, which is just. But through the kindness of others, hopefully she will learn from this and pass it forward. My brother used to be a manager of a grocery store, and one day he caught a young mother stealing a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter. Needless to say he bought them for her himself, and told her to just come to him next time she needed something. She lived in some very low-rent apartments across the parking lot. We need more kindness and forgiveness in this world.

nonmember avatar MammaMel

I find it hilarious that you started this off with a "being a single mom is sooooo hard"'s really not...and I'm a single mom...I find plenty of time to work/parent/go to school...and financially I MAKE IT WORK and I don't get financial help from the ex...being a single mother is no excuse to steal, but good on the cops either way

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