Tarrant cop says showing kindness to a shoplifter was 'the right thing to do'

Tarrant officer shows kindness to shoplifter
Officer Stacy hands the woman some eggs. (Source: Robert Tripp)
Officer Stacy hands the woman some eggs. (Source: Robert Tripp)

TARRANT, AL (WBRC) - It is not unusual for cops to get a call about shoplifters during the holidays.

"Usually it's candy. Usually they have enough money in their pocket to pay for it," Tarrant police officer William Stacy said.

On Saturday, someone tried to steal eggs from the Dollar General on Pinson Valley Parkway. But Stacy said this call was different.

He said the suspect told him, "I shouldn't have done that but my babies need food."

Officer Stacy had met the woman before so he was somewhat familiar with her situation.

"You can't let kids go hungry. I ran inside, bought the eggs for her and walked out and handed her the eggs," Stacy said.

"She tried to give me all the money she had on her, which was $1.25. I told her to keep it. I don't want it. The way she can repay me is to never do this [shoplift] again."

Stacy gave the woman a hug and left but what he didn't know was that another customer, Robert Tripp, recorded the exchange.

"He approached it like I'm going to talk to her to see what is going on, assess the situation, see what is going on first besides attacking her. I thought it was pretty cool," Tripp said.

Tripp shared the video online and suddenly the actions of this rookie cop became a hit.

Stacy may not be comfortable with all of the attention but the community and the Tarrant Police Department have rallied behind him.

"Officers have to use appropriate and good discretion on every call and we're proud of what he's done," Tarrant Police Chief Dennis Reno said.

For Stacy, it is just a part of the job.

"All across the U.S., law enforcement officers do stuff like this on a daily basis. I felt like it was the right thing to do," he said.

Ronda Robinson confirmed that both the police department and Dollar General dropped the charges against the woman.

If you know of a Tarrant resident in need of food, the police department wants you to give them a call. The office has partnerships with a lot of local food banks.

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