Chief George McNeil is pleased to report that a Somerset Police Officer purchased a Christmas dinner for a family in need after responding to a shoplifting incident.
“This incident is a true testament of Officer Lima’s great character and decision making,” Chief McNeil said.
On Sunday, Dec. 20, Somerset Police Officer Matt Lima responded to Stop & Shop, 815 Grand Army Highway, for a report of a shoplifting in progress.
Upon his arrival, Officer Lima spoke to a Stop & Shop asset protection associate who told him that he observed the suspects, two women with two young children, allegedly not scanning all of their groceries and then putting them into shopping bags at the self-checkout kiosks. The associate then printed the transaction receipt and noticed numerous items they took were missing. The suspects were subsequently asked to return inside with their items while they awaited for Somerset Police to respond.
During the on-scene investigation, Officer Lima discovered that the two suspects fell upon hard times and attempted to take additional groceries they did not have enough money to pay for so they could provide a Christmas dinner for the two young children.
Officer Lima served the two women Notice Not To Trespass forms and informed the associate that he would not be pressing criminal charges as all the missing items on their receipt were groceries.
“The two children with the women reminded me of my kids, so I had to help them out,” Officer Lima said.
Officer Lima then inquired about where the items were that the suspects allegedly attempted to take and was informed that they have been returned to their shelves. Officer Lima then subsequently purchased gift cards in the amount of $250 with his own money so the women would be able to purchase groceries for their Christmas dinner at another Stop & Shop location.
“I would like to personally commend Officer Lima for his actions,” Chief McNeil said. “His actions exemplify what it means to protect and serve the members of our community. When faced with a difficult situation in which a family was trying to provide a meal for their kids, he made the generous decision to not press charges and instead ensured that they would have a Christmas dinner they could enjoy.”