A Florida police officer exhibited some compassion toward a local woman she caught stealing $300 worth of groceries out of desperation, WSVN-TV reported.
While Miami-Dade Officer Vicki Thomas did arrest Jessica Robles and charge her with a misdemeanor, Thomas also bought Robles $100 worth of food for her children instead of taking her to jail.
“I made the decision to buy her some groceries because arresting her wasn’t going to solve the problem with her children being hungry,” Thomas told WSVN.
According to Robles, she and her boyfriend ran out of money to provide for her three children following the loss of his job and federal food subsidies, which led her to walk into a local store and make off with the groceries.
“She asked, ‘Do you even have food at the house?'” Robles explained to WSVN. “And I looked at her in her face, and I told her, ‘Not at all.'”
Thomas told ABC News she chose to give Robles a notice to appear in court before going back into the store and purchasing the groceries, which gave her family enough food for about a week.
“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 told ABC. “I let her hug me.”
Robles has subsequently begun visiting a local food bank and searching for a job, while promising Thomas she would also help someone in her position once she gets her financial affairs in order.
“All I wanted to tell her is thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Robles said of Thomas.
Watch WSVN’s account of the encounter between Robles and Thomas, aired on Tuesday, below.