Police officer pays for shoplifting suspects’ holiday dinner

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This undated photo provided by the Somerset Police Department shows Officer Matt Lima in Somerset, Mass. He is being praised for using his own money to purchase $250 gift cards for two women accused of trying to steal groceries last month. The women said they wanted to provide a Christmas meal for their children. (Somerset Police Department via AP)

SOMERSET, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts police officer declined to charge two women accused of trying to steal groceries for the children — and instead bought them Christmas dinner.

Somerset Officer Matt Lima responded to a report of shoplifting Dec. 20 at Stop & Shop, where two women with two young children were accused of putting groceries into bags at a self-checkout kiosk without scanning them.

The women said they had fallen on hard times and were trying to provide a Christmas dinner for the children. Lima says he was reminded of his own children and used his own money to buy $250 in grocery gift cards.

“His actions exemplify what it means to protect and serve the members of our community,” Chief George McNeil said on the department’s website.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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