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Shoplifting Suspect Bursts Into Tears When Police Officers Pay for Her Groceries

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In Victor Hugo’s influential novel “Les Miserables,” protagonist Jean Valjean ends up spending almost two decades in jail for stealing bread to feed his family. After his release, he turns to thievery again, pilfering from a priest.

Only a kind-hearted deception from the holy man saves Valjean from more prison time. Thus Hugo set up the tension between law and grace, between just recompense and unmerited favor.

A similar sort of situation played out in New York during Independence Day. According to WTVD, a woman was shopping in a Big Apple Whole Foods during this most American of holidays.

She decided to slip a little something extra into her bag. Without a doubt, it was blatant theft.

She might have gotten away with it, but someone saw her commit the crime. CBS News reported that a group of officers coincidentally entered the establishment, looking for a little grub.

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That was when a security guard called them over. He wanted them to deal with the thief.

Little did anyone realize that documentary filmmaker Paul Bozymowski (“Sting: When the Last Ship Sails,” “Miley: The Movement”) was watching the whole thing. What he saw happen next moved him.

“I saw the woman opened up her bag, and one of the officers looked in the bag. And [the cop] said: ‘I’ll buy your food,'” the New York Post reported that he said.

“Just really simply and plainly.” He also added, “She was just overwhelmed with gratitude for these officers.”

Apparently, the woman expected to receive a stiff penalty instead of mercy. The officers’ grace made her break down in tears.

She explained to them that she’d pilfered the food because she was hungry. The men, whose ranks and names were Lt. Sojo and Officers Cuevas and Rivera, didn’t even confer about their decision.

Instead, they each pitched in $10 so she could have her meal. “We looked in her bag, and what we saw was containers of food,” Cuevas said.

“We didn’t see anything else. It was just a necessity: food.”

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“When you look at someone’s face and you notice that they need you, they’re actually hungry, it’s pretty difficult as a human being to walk away from something like that,” Sojo added.

Such a response might seem shocking, but Bozymowski stated that it didn’t catch him off guard at all.

“I wasn’t surprised,” he said. “I’ve lived in New York 25 years. It was just a really moving moment.”

NYPD Chief Terence Monahan agreed and publicly praised his men.

“Cops like Lt. Sojo and Officers Cuevas and Rivera of the Strategic Response Group are the kind-hearted cops who quietly do good deeds for New Yorkers in need,” he tweeted.

Liftable, a section of The Western Journal, has reached out to Bozymowski for comment but has not yet received a response. We will update this article if and when we do.

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
Education
Wheaton College
Location
Florida
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Entertainment, Faith, Travel




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