Grandmother caught stealing eggs thankful for officer who helped her out

Grandmother caught stealing eggs thankful for officer who helped her out
Officer William Stacy. Source: WBRC video
Officer William Stacy. Source: WBRC video
A fellow shopper recorded the conversation and hug between Helen and Officer Stacy. Source: Robert Tripp
A fellow shopper recorded the conversation and hug between Helen and Officer Stacy. Source: Robert Tripp
This is the Dollar General store where Johnson tried to steal the eggs. Source: WBRC video
This is the Dollar General store where Johnson tried to steal the eggs. Source: WBRC video
People have been bringing donations for the Johnson family to the Tarrant Police Department. Source: Ronda Robinson/WBRC
People have been bringing donations for the Johnson family to the Tarrant Police Department. Source: Ronda Robinson/WBRC

TARRANT, AL (WBRC) - "I said, 'Oh my God I'm going to jail for eggs. My grandkids are not going to eat. What am I going to do?"

That's what Helen Johnson was thinking when she got caught stealing from the Dollar General on Pinson Valley Parkway on Saturday.

"They hadn't had anything to eat all day for three days," Johnson said.

Johnson said she was trying to take three eggs back her apartment where she lives with her two daughters, her niece and her two young grandkids.

Helen told FOX6 Reporter Ronda Robinson she only had $1.25 with her when she tried to slip the three eggs in her pocket.

Thinking back on things, she said she made a desperate but bad decision.

"I thought because I left the dollar and a quarter, it would make up for the three eggs," she said.

But before she left the store, she was caught. She told Tarrant Police Officer William Stacy what happened.

"I said, 'Yes sir, I came to get some eggs but I didn't have enough money.' I reached down into my pocket and came out with the eggs. They ran through my hands because they were cracked," she said.

Instead of arresting Helen, Officer Stacy bought the eggs for her. Meanwhile, a customer recorded the whole thing on a cell phone.

"Some of these people, they're just caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time and they don't necessarily mean the thing they do. You gotta help them out. We're there to help, to serve and protect. We're there to make a difference," Stacy said.

Helen wasn't expecting a second chance but says she's thankful. It's still hard for her to put into words how she feels about the whole experience.

"I just took three eggs. I know right from wrong. I just took three eggs from these people, you know that. I didn't know what to say," she said.

Tarrant Police Chief Dennis Reno says the police department has been overwhelmed by offers of support for Helen Johnson and her family ever since the story first aired.

"We've had calls from California, Iowa, Oregon, Canada, New York, Ohio and an email from Hawaii," Chief Reno said.

Food and household donations have been dropped off at the Tarrant Police Department for Johnson and other families in need.

Johnson said this is a second chance she does not take for granted.

"This is God. God is speaking to me. I've been through so much, I thought God had forgot about me," she said.

The Tarrant Police Department posted the following message about donations to the Johnson family on their Facebook page:

The Tarrant Police Department would like to thank everyone for the out pouring of kindness and generosity for the Johnson Family.

If anyone would like to send a monetary donation to Mrs. Johnson and her family please make checks payable to:

Tarrant Police Charity Fund

c/o The Johnson Family

Mailing Address:

Peoples First Federal Credit Union

1140 Ford Avenue

Tarrant, Al 35217

If you wish to make a food donation, or Christmas donation please contact Tarrant Police Department

2593 Commerce Circle

Tarrant, Al 35217

205-849-2811

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