Facebookvideo-AL cop hugs shoplifter

An Alabama police officer is being hailed for his kindness after he not only bought the eggs that a woman tried stealing to feed her family, but surprised her at home with two truck loads of groceries.

The Dollar General store in the small town of Tarrant agree not to press charges on December 6 and that was to be the end of the incident, but a random shopper saw the officer come back to buy the eggs and recorded him hugging the woman outside as he delivered them to her.

“She started crying, she got very emotional and was very apologetic,” Officer William Stacy told AL.com. “She tried to give me the money she had on her, $1.25.”

Stacy was familiar with Helen Johnson, having responded to a call at her home previously, and knew the tough situation she faced everyday, helping to feed her two children, a niece and two grandchildren. At the store she had been 50 cents short of the cost for eggs, and became desperate. He only asked that she promised never to steal again.

Johnson said she was stunned. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, thank you Jesus for this man,”’ she said. “He is my hero.”

Within 24 hours of Robert Dollar Tripp posting the video hug on Facebook, the Tarrant Police Department received a flood of phone calls from people around the county.

“They wanted to thank Officer Stacy for such a wonderful gesture and wanting to donate money to not only help the woman in the video but to donate to the City of Tarrant toy and food drive for all of the families in need,” wrote a Department spokesperson on Facebook. “This makes our hearts smile.”

On Wednesday, Tarrant police delivered two truckloads of groceries to the woman.

“It’s growing and growing and growing,” Tarrant Police Chief Dennis Reno told AL.com. “A guy called me from New York and just broke down. He said for two months he’s been angry with police, and he said this has totally changed his mind.”

Police officials also set up a fund at People’s First Federal Credit Union on Ford Avenue in Tarrant to benefit the Johnson family, and offered a mailing address for those wanting to donated.
Tarrant Police Charity Fund c/o The Johnson Family
Peoples First Federal Credit Union, 1140 Ford Avenue, Tarrant, Al 35217

If you wish to donate food, or a Christmas gift for the family, you can drop them off or call the Tarrant Police Department at 2593 Commerce Circle, Tarrant, Al 35217 (205-849-2811).

(WATCH the video below or READ the story from from AL.com)

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