Police officer takes shoplifter shopping

Update: 5:45PM WHEN a mum of six was caught shoplifting nappies, clothes and shoes for her kids, the last thing she expected was for a stranger to pay for her haul.

 Especially when that stranger was the police officer who’d been called to arrest her.

Sarah Robinson, a widowed mum of six girls aged from 2 to 16, was attempting to steal NZ$445 worth of items from Walmart in Roeland Park, Kansas, on July 6, when she was spotted by a staff member.  

When Officer Mark Engravalle arrived, the mum said that she and her daughters were living out of their car and occasionally sharing a bedroom in a stranger’s house. Many of their possessions had recently been stolen from the car.

Her husband had drowned a few years earlier.

Instead of arresting Robinson, Officer Engravalle gave her a citation for misdemeanour theft. The dad of two then returned the children to the store and asked the eldest daughter to choose shoes for all the girls.

He then paid for nappies, baby wipes, clothes and shoes for the kids, all from his own wallet.

“Being a father myself, it obviously pulled at my heart. Walmart might see her as a criminal, but I just saw her as a mum going through a really difficult time,” he told 41 Action News.

“I didn’t give it a second thought ? I just wanted to do right by the children.”

“It was more of a mutual understanding, we didn’t really say anything. [Later] she said thank you.

“The look on her children’s face with the shoes and everything, that’s all that had to be said.”  

Robinson says she will be eternally grateful for Officer Engravalle’s generosity.

“He helped us at a time when it seemed nobody else could,” she said through tears. 

Since the story has gone public, strangers have donated more than NZ$8900 to the Robinsons after the Roeland Park Police Department helped set up a bank account for the family.

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