Arkansas officer catches shoplifting parents off guard: 'Don’t do this'

Dillon Thompson

A shoplifting incident in Arkansas turned into something far more inspiring thanks to the heartwarming efforts of a local police officer.  

Kenneth Martin, a field training officer with the Fort Smith Police Department, was called to a nearby Walmart late last year after receiving reports of a shoplifter, KTHV-TV reported. When he and another officer arrived on the scene, they found a couple who'd been caught stealing groceries while visiting the store with their young children. 

Bodycam footage released last week in news clips shared by KTHV-TV shows Martin's reaction after discovering the family. He first walks to the store's customer service desk and pays for the groceries the couple was allegedly caught stealing.

"They're stealing food and they've got kids," Martin says in the footage. 

Video: WKTH-TV

He then walks the groceries over to the family, seen waiting with another officer. Martin's bodycam shows him handing the bags over and placing them in a small cart. 

The man, who remains unnamed, was reportedly arrested and booked for shoplifting, however, the woman and their children were able to go freely. Martin explains to the children that he has to take their father to jail before issuing a warning.

"I took care of these for you, ok?" he tells the couple. "I understand this is food and things that you need, but ask for some help. Don’t do this with these babies."

The video doesn't show the family's reaction, but Martin was ultimately rewarded for his kindness. WKTH-TV reported that he was named his department's January Employee of the Month for his behavior during the shoplifting call.