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Officer buys groceries for alleged shoplifter

  |   Oct. 24, 2013 at 1:20 PM
MIAMI, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- A Florida police officer who arrested a shoplifter ended up purchasing a week's worth of groceries for the woman and her children, officials said.

Miami-Dade Police Officer Vicki Thomas, 55, said she responded to a report of a shoplifter caught at a Publix supermarket and the store manager led her to Jessica Robles, who the manager said attempted to leave the store with a cart containing hundreds of dollars worth of groceries she had not paid for, ABC News.com reported Thursday.

"She just filled up the grocery cart and she just walked out, which shocked me and I asked her, 'Why?'" Thomas said. "She said, 'My children were hungry.' And that immediately impacted me."

Thomas said the woman told her though tears that she couldn't promise she wouldn't attempt to shoplift again to feed her children.

"My grandchildren flashed before my eyes," Thomas said. "I knew at that time what I was going to do. I knew I was going to buy her groceries."

Thomas said she and her partner arrested the woman and put her in the back of the patrol car before returning to the store to buy $100 worth of groceries.

"I grabbed my debit card, ran back into the store and bought things that would sustain her for a week or so and when I walked out she saw that I had the cart of groceries and she burst out in tears and asked if she could hug me, which is kind of unusual for the suspect to be hugging the officer," Thomas said. "I let her hug me."

Thomas said the woman was charged with a misdemeanor and released with a promise to appear in court.

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