Officer Receives Call Over Shoplifter, And Decides Not to Arrest Him When He Finds Out What He’s Stealing

Officer Justin Roby

Police officer Justin Roby of London, Kentucky, answered a routine shoplifting call that was made by a Kroger employee.  This time, however, it would turn out to be anything but routine.

As soon as Roby stepped into Kroger, he saw that this was in fact, not a typical shoplifter.  It was a man caught in a moment of despair.   The man’s story was one of hardship and a need to care for his son.

“I found out that the father,” Roby explained. “Had attempted to steal or shoplift a can of baby formula for his 6-month-old baby.”

For Roby, this would not be a standard black and white decision to make on whether to arrest the man.

“As a police officer, it’s not black and white for us,” said Roby. “There’s a lot of gray. And you have to cipher through everything and you really need to figure out the whole story.”

The loss prevention manager did not want to press charges, and Roby agreed.

“Me citing him for court wouldn’t have done any good for him,” Roby said. “He’s already short on money, can’t afford formula, so me making him appear in court, he’s still not going to have any food for that baby.”

Instead of arresting the man, Roby decided to deliver an act of kindness by buying baby formula himself and then giving it to the single father, reports LEX18.

“You put yourself in the situations,” Roby said. “I think, ‘Well, what if me and my son, what if this was us?”

The single father was humbled by Roby’s act.

“He was speechless for a while,” Roby recounts. “He shook my hand and said thank you, he didn’t really say a whole lot.”

Roby provided the man with information on organizations — including his own department — that can help those in need.

Roby does not view what he did as anything special because his fellow officers provide acts of kindness everyday to those in the community.

“I think when [a lot of people] look at us, they see just the uniform and just the car, just the tools that we have on our belt,” Roby told WKYT. “But behind the uniform, I’m a human being and I’m a person out in this community just like any of them. I have a little boy. I’m a father just like that gentleman was.

“We’re not these robots,” Roby said. “There’s a human behind the badge.”

Sources: LEX18, WKYT

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