After responding to a shoplifting report at a Kansas Wal-Mart, a police officer did something unexpected when he bought the shoplifter needed items (video below).
Roeland Park Police Officer Mark Engravalle responded to a call regarding a mother and her 15-year-old daughter stealing $300 worth of merchandise from a Wal-Mart in the Roeland Park, Kansas. But when he arrived he discovered that the pair had been stealing diapers, baby wipes, shoes and girl’s clothing.
He then saw the three youngest of the woman’s five children, a girl aged 4 and twin girls aged 2, were not wearing shoes, reports The Kansas City Star.
“The young kids were barefoot,” Engravalle told Prairie Village Post, “with their feet all dirty.”
The officer then found out the woman did not have the money to buy the items and learned that the girls did not have any shoes. The mother also revealed the family had been living out of a car.
Engravalle, a father of two young children, then asked the 15-year-old to pick out shoes as well as diapers and wipes for her sisters. He paid for the items with his own money.
“Though a citation was issued for theft,” said Police Chief John Morris, “the compassion that this officer showed was incredible to say the least. We try to make a difference here in Roeland Park, and this proves to be one of those moments.”
According to Engravalle, he was “honored to be able to make something light out of a bad situation.”
“I know it’s tough for them,” he continued. “Obviously she’s going through a tough time. Wal-Mart might see her as a criminal, but I just saw her as a mom who was going through a really difficult time.”