Cop buys diapers, baby wipes for mother-of-six who was caught shoplifting
A desperate mother-of-six took to shoplifting at a Wal-Mart store in Kansas city in an attempt to get what she needed: baby wipes, diapers and shoes for her children.
Ms Sarah Robinson was caught by the store and handed over to police officer Mark Engravalle.
But instead of arresting her, officer Engravalle bought the crying woman and children US$300 worth of items from that very Wal-Mart – about the same value as what Ms Robinson had attempted to steal.
Screen grab of police officer Mark Engravalle. PHOTO: KSHB KANSAS CITY
The purchases on July 6 included shoes for each of the six children, three of whom were barefoot and dirty when officer Engravalle laid eyes on them.
The officer told NBC-affiliate KSHB : "Obviously she is going through a tough time. Wal-Mart might see her as a criminal, but I just saw her as a mum going through a really difficult time."
He added: "Being a father myself, it obviously pulled at my heart."
Screen grab of one of Ms Sarah Robinson's six children. PHOTO: KSHB KANSAS CITY
Ms Robinson has been struggling to provide for her children – Sophia, 13, Angelina, 12, Emily, five, Miley, four, and twins Becky and Bella, two – since her husband drowned in an accident in 2011.
The family was kicked out of their lodgings without their belongings, reported The Kansas City Star. They live in a car.
"We didn’t have anything," Ms Robinson said. "I guess it was like, I don’t know, a stroke of stupid. I was just completely overwhelmed and I was wrong, and I told her (my daughter), 'This (stealing) is not what you do.'
"I really didn’t know what else to do."
Officer Engravalle wrote Ms Robinson a ticket for her offence, but did not arrest her.
News of the officer's generosity and Ms Robinson's plight spread.
On Saturday (July 11), a local radio station organised a donation drive for Ms Robinson's family at the parking lot outside Roeland Park Police Department.
Strangers donated items such as clothing, blankets, food and toiletries. The police department also received more than US$6,000 in donations for the family.