Three Michigan deputies reportedly came together to buy shoes for the children of a married couple who were caught shoplifting at Walmart.
Sgt. Adam Lamb and deputies John Balowski and Kyle Boyd were called to a local Walmart on Oct. 6 after store security caught a husband and wife were caught shoplifting, the Mason County Press reported.
The couple was reportedly caught stealing hunting supplies and children’s shoes. They were with their two young children at the time.
Lamb described the situation to the Mason County Press:
“Deputy Balowski proceeded to interview the husband while Deputy Boyd and I spoke to the wife. The children looked to be ages 2 and 4. We found out through speaking with them that they were having an extremely difficult time financially, which is why they stole the items. The husband had hoped to harvest a deer with the hunting supplies and to put shoes on his kids’ feet.
“I noticed the children didn’t have any shoes on and I asked the mother if the kids had shoes. She said yes and showed me two pair of very worn out shoes with holes in them.
“The kids were crying and the 4-year-old kept asking us not to arrest their daddy. It’s always a tough position to be in because when the law is broken we have to do our jobs. But, it’s tough for kids to see their daddy get arrested. We don’t want kids to have the impression that police are people who take their parents away.”
The father, whose name was not released, was charged with retail fraud third degree. But the deputies decided to do something for the children.
They pulled their money together and bought shoes for the kids. They brought the shoes to the mother, who tearfully accepted the gift, Lamb said.
“We weren’t looking for any recognition,” Lamb said. “Any one of the deputies on this department would do and has done the same thing.”
Word got out eventually after someone informed the sheriff of the deputies' selfless deed, and Sheriff Kim Cole remarked on the incident:
“Adam, Kyle and John are examples of deputies we expect to serve the citizens of Mason County. I hear these stories all the time, not from my deputies but from the public. These men didn’t do anything for any glory and didn’t even think it necessary to tell me about what they did. They love serving and ask nothing in return. They are similar to officers in uniform who daily protect and serve their citizens across the country.”
For Balowski, the incident hit close to home.
“We all have children whose ages are close proximity to the kids from this incident,” Balowski said. “It’s very likely that our children will go to school with these kids and that we, as parents, will be at school functions and other activities with these parents.
“I think it’s in our best interest as law enforcement to set an example for our children and for adults. Sure, we have to enforce the law and there has to be consequences for stealing. But, people fall under hard times and we are all neighbors here.”
After the incident, Walmart donated flashlights for the search-and-rescue crews, according to the Associated Press.