Kotsonis was able to identify a suspect and he visited her home, where he discovered the items had been taken to bake a child's birthday cake.
"When Officer Kotsonis went to interview her, she admitted to the theft," Lt. Darrin Sargent told WMUR-TV. "She stated that the only reason she took what she took was because she couldn't afford it. The ingredients that we found out that she took were for a birthday cake for her daughter."
The officer brought the stolen items to a store manager and said: "I'd like to buy it for them."
"I'm not going to take away a kid's birthday cake," Kotsonis told the Portsmouth Herald. "I ended up bringing it back to the mother."
Kotsonis said he does not approve of the mother's actions, "but the kid shouldn't have to pay,"
Daniel Rose, assistant manager at the store, said workers were touched by Kotsonis' kindness.
"We were overwhelmed," Rose said. "It's certainly one of the more kindhearted gestures I've personally seen, but also that we've seen here at the store."
Acting Deputy Police Chief Frank Warchol praised the officer's actions.
"Mike's compassion took over. He used discretion and I guarantee the kids were happy," Warchol said.
Kotsonis said he was not seeking praise with his gesture.
"I didn't do it for the attention," he said. "What you do when no one is looking, that's the character of someone."