Cops Arrest Mom Of 3 For Stealing, Then They Learn Reason

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A mother of three was arrested after she was caught stealing. However, when the police officers learned the reason for the theft, not only did it change everything, but her story went viral.

Theresa West
Theresa West (Credit: Screenshot)

Most parents would tell you that they would do anything for their children. Especially when it comes to fundamental necessities like providing a safe living environment or sufficient food. Theresa West, a mother of three, found herself in such dire straits that she concluded she had no choice but to act.

West stated that she and her three adopted children had gone three days without any food. After failing to receive assistance from local churches and organizations, the North Carolina woman said she had little choice but to shoplift food.

Senior Cpl. Keith Bradshaw and Officer Candace Spragins (Credit: Screenshot)

When Senior Cpl. Keith Bradshaw and Officer Candace Spragins, of the Hillsborough Police Department, were called to a nearby Food Lion, employees reported a woman stole a couple of loaves of bread, Ragu sauce, pasta, and Caesar salad packets. The officers were able to find the woman after examining the surveillance video. A camera captured a car tag, and officers were able to locate a home address.

When cops discovered Theresa West’s mobile home, she burst into tears. “She kind of hung her head and told us what was going on and why and that she was sorry,” Bradshaw said. Her story astounded the officers. The mother described her situation, prompting her to shoplift $36 in food. “I had to go out and steal food, and that’s desperate, and I’m sorry for doing what I did, but my kids were hungry,” she said.

Theresa West
Theresa West is in tears as she tells her heartbreaking story. (Credit: Screenshot)

Cpl. Bradshaw asked West if he could go into her kitchen and confirm that she was out of food. He opened the refrigerator and freezer doors, where he only found one item. “I seen just cheese; it was like ‘wow,” Bradshaw said. West gave the officers back the $36 worth of stolen food, and although the cops ultimately had to “criminally charge her with the theft,” they decided to do something to help her.

Later that evening, the officers made a surprise visit to Theresa’s home, and this time they came with their arms loaded with food. Cpl. Bradshaw and Officer Spragins had gone back to the store themselves and used their own money to buy groceries for a total cost of $140.

Theresa West in front of her mobile home holding the Bible (Credit: Screenshot)

“Sometimes you gotta go that extra mile and look for other ways of helping and improving your community and the quality of life for the people in the community,” Cpl. Bradshaw said. “And if that improves her life a little bit and it helps her, I will do it again tomorrow.”

On Facebook, officials with the police department wrote, “Sometimes police work is not cut and dry. We are people first and cops second.” The Hillsborough Police Department plans to continue helping West find the support she needs to provide food for her family. The response on social media was overwhelming. The police department urged members of the public who were touched by the story to give to their local food bank.

People stepped up to the challenge, and generous gifts to those in need came flooding in. By the time West made bail and returned home, there were bags of food. “It was just a lot of hugging and crying from her and thankfulness,” Cpl. Bradshaw declared.

Police said West suffered a traumatic brain injury and was unable to work. The officers saw this as an opportunity to help the community in a meaningful way. While Cpl. Bradshaw said his good deed is just part of the job, Theresa West said it means so much more. “My favorite verse is Matthew 23:24, ‘Whenever I was hungry, you fed me,’” West said. “I’m struggling so hard to make it, and just to have somebody to come help me is just been a miracle.”