Miami Cop Buys Groceries for Desperate Mom Caught Shoplifting Food

Here at Riptide, we chew on the fodder of public corruption, despotism, and power-hungry cops gone bad. But today, we're thrilled to report, this story won't be another entry into the annals of Miami mayhem.

Late last month, 29-year-old Jessica Robles looked at her three children and came to a realization every parent fears: She didn't have money for food. Her boyfriend had just lost his job, and their federal assistance had squeaked to a stop because of some paperwork issues. What was she going to do?

So, WSVN reports, she headed to the Publix near SW 207th Street in Cutler Bay, piled $300 worth of food into her grocery cart, and clandestinely walked out without paying. It wouldn't be a clean getaway.

A blond, middle-aged Miami-Dade Police officer named Vicki Thomas spotted her strolling out and asked what she was doing. "What would make you do this?" Thomas asked.

"My children are hungry," Robles replied.

Thomas climbed into her squad car to check out Robles' record and found little to nothing. In December 1998, Robles had been charged with possession of tobacco as a minor, and again charged with possession of marijuana August 24, 2004. (Neither charge was prosecuted.)

So now, Thomas faced a choice: She could either arrest Robles for brazenly stealing hundreds of dollars' worth of groceries, or she could help. Thomas chose the latter.

"I made the decision to buy her some groceries because arresting her wasn't going to solve the problem with her children being hungry," she told the TV station.

After issuing Robles a misdemeanor -- a charge that never spilled into the courts -- Thomas walked into the supermarket and bought the bewildered mother $100 worth of groceries.

Robles' 12-year-old daughter, Anais, wept when she saw the bounty. "Thank you so much for doing it for us," she told the cop, who compared her feeling that day to Christmas.

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Terrence McCoy