Officer buys holiday groceries for women accused of theft

Tim Balk, New York Daily News

A Massachusetts police officer dipped into his own wallet to purchase $250 in Christmas groceries for two women suspected of shoplifting to feed a pair of youngsters last month, cops said.

Officer Matt Lima made the purchase at Stop & Shop in Somerset, Mass., on Dec. 20, after he arrived at the store and was told that the women had failed to scan all their groceries at a self-serve checkout, according to the town’s police department.

The two women, who were struggling financially and were planning a holiday meal for the children, received notices not to trespass but were not charged with a crime, cops said.

“The two children with the women reminded me of my kids, so I had to help them out,” Lima said in a statement.

The Somerset Police Department said Lima bought a gift card for the suspects to use at another Stop & Shop after the groceries were returned to the store’s shelves.

“I would like to personally commend Officer Lima for his actions,” Chief George McNeil said in a statement. “His actions exemplify what it means to protect and serve the members of our community.”

Somerset is in Southeastern Massachusetts, about 20 miles east of Providence, R.I.