October 22nd, 2013
11:41 AM ET

Officer Finds Mom Trying To Steal Groceries, Buys Her $100 Worth Of Food

Officer Vicki Thomas spent $100 on groceries to help a mom she originally stopped shoplifting.

The generous cop says she did it because she could identify with the woman's desperate situation.

"I did it just because I needed to," Thomas tells CNN's Chris Cuomo.

"She touched me, when I asked her why she did it and she said she needed to feed her children, I could relate. I was a single mom and without the help of my family, that could have been me. And so I needed to do my job but I also needed to help her."

Thomas spotted mom Jessica Robles trying to walk out with a cart load of supplies in Florida.

Robles said she found herself in a situation where she looked at her children, 12-year-old Anais and two younger boys, and realized she couldn't buy food.

Thomas was called in to arrest the woman but instead of taking Robles into custody, Thomas ran her criminal history and found she didn't have a dangerous past.

The officer saw Robles was not a habitual shoplifter so she charged her with a misdemeanor and a notice to appear in court.

Thomas also took an extra step to help the woman and bought her $100 worth of food saying, "I made the decision to buy her some groceries because arresting her wasn't going to solve the problem with her children being hungry. "


Since the story has gone viral, Robles has had many people reach out to offer help.

Officer Thomas says even though she didn't seek out attention for her generosity, it is nice to be appreciated.

"It’s amazing, it’s so hard to explain because I do a lot. And 'thank you' is very seldom heard in my profession. Most of the time when we go, no one is happy to see us. So this was just, it’s overwhelming, I’m so so very proud."

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soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Dave

    She now has skills as a bagger and can qualify for a job at the same publix. What a wonderful and heart warming story....

    February 12, 2014 at 7:02 pm | Reply
  2. Maria

    Awesome work Officer Thomas!! May God always look after you!

    October 23, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Reply
  3. Terry

    How can I reach out and help Jessica Robles? I have kids clothes that I can donate to her kids.

    October 23, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Reply
  4. Michael Boysen

    Yes there are still some good and caring police out there

    October 23, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Reply
  5. Danny Chua

    I'm so amaze with this police woman..despite of her protocol to obey the rule as an officer to protect the sorrounding but she dis obey inspite she ask why...you did this...as she know the answer she was touch her heart and made the subject..to buy groceries for feed to the hunger family...if i were i gave him a honor of valor

    October 23, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Reply
  6. Jeane

    You are a very remarkable person. On behalf of many who won't comment on this story, THANK YOU! for being a true American...there should be more like you. Not only do you protect and defend...but you are ONE IN A MILLION!

    October 23, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Reply
  7. brian barber

    I will make it as brief as possible before you lose interest. My 13yr old daughter was molested for 4yrs by a 17yr old in my exwifes house. She lives in silver springs maryland. The police and social services will not charge him with any crime. He admitted everything to the police and social services. My exwife refuses to press charges because she is MARRIED to the boy's MOTHER. Yes! Mother... I have been fighting a custody battle to get my children but what can a poor man do? Paying over 1400 in child support prevents a good father from having any available funds to get his children. So my daughter stays in an unhealthy environment because I give all the money to her mother. Im a retired vet. If anyone can get the word out to help me please contact me. My daughter is in immediate peril. I have sent this to many stations and have recieved no response. Thank you Brian

    October 23, 2013 at 11:58 am | Reply
    • TeamCNNCNN

      Hi, Brian,

      Please send your story to storyidea@cnn.com, so that the team my send to the appropriate units for review.

      Thank you,
      CNN Viewer Communications

      October 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Reply
  8. T.martin


    October 23, 2013 at 11:23 am | Reply
  9. Mercy Borroto

    I would like to tell that officer that I am soooo thankful for her actions because she gave me back the belief in humanity, especially from a police officer. Nowadays all you hear is the officer pulled out a stun-gun or shot the suspect. You never hear of great deeds as such from police officers. In my teen days, I remember if a kid was caught doing something the officer would give the kid a huge lecture and brought him home and told the parents. From thereafter, the parents gave the kid a piece of their mind or punished the kid. Today parents do not take responsibility and allow their kids to do at will. But the caliber of the officers then was extremely higher than today's. Congratulations to this officer!!! She is one in a million.!

    October 23, 2013 at 10:42 am | Reply
  10. Debbie Tucker

    This officer story is The Good Stuff. We have some of the same stories here in Regina. Recently Regina Police Officers were called to a back-alley, where they found a severely injured dog. Unable to find the owners at the time, they went into their own pockets, put the call out to other officers who were on duty, and soon had over $2000.00 for his care. If you would like the whole story, go to Facebook Regina Police Service, and all the information is there. This story truly showed there really is Good Stuff, even North of the Border!

    Thank-you for taking the time to read this

    October 23, 2013 at 10:15 am | Reply
  11. anita

    thankyou to the office for helping this mom, as a mother myself , you never want to see your kids hungry , in need ,or unruly. im grateful that you have a wonderful heart , I thank god that you are in a position to help and assist. angels on your side ,be safe , be careful ,so that you your love can share.

    October 23, 2013 at 10:13 am | Reply
  12. sara

    that was a good story some people are in need, why can she apply for food stamps?

    October 23, 2013 at 10:02 am | Reply
  13. Victoria Millward

    That was a wonderful thing to do!

    October 23, 2013 at 9:23 am | Reply
  14. Bea Aleman

    What an angel that officer is. May God bless her. This story is touching. ♥

    October 23, 2013 at 9:09 am | Reply
  15. Name*Jerry

    People are always do quick to down police officers. Wonderful to hear of the good things they do, FINALLY. BLESS YOU Officer Thomas. You are a GOOD SOUL

    October 23, 2013 at 9:01 am | Reply
  16. Jade Stroman

    That is such a touching story. Is there a address were people could mail her some food items to help out?

    October 23, 2013 at 8:50 am | Reply
  17. srbarro


    October 23, 2013 at 8:38 am | Reply
  18. KY

    That my fellow viewers is policing at its best. This officer is a stellar example of how all police should be be trained and conduct themselves. Bravo Zulu to you Officer Vicki Thomas I wish there were more police in and out of uniform that have a heart as big as yours, and a professional and human nature as real and true as yours. This is an act on your part that should not be forgotten or go unanswered by your Chief of Police. Outstanding in my opinion.

    October 23, 2013 at 8:36 am | Reply
  19. Red Rover

    What a generous and intelligent officer! Ms. Robles should not spend one more minute shedding tears. She needs to spend her energy seeking out some assistance through community agencies so that when she appears before the judge she can prove she has taken positive steps to secure a support plan moving forward and won't end up in the same situation again. I don't know this woman's situation, but her lack of criminal background would indicate that she is not just a scammer and thief. Agencies are out there to help people who offer assistance to those genuinely in need. She's a good mom!

    October 23, 2013 at 8:26 am | Reply
  20. Lee

    Great job officer. One of the few times a COP wasn't aggressive rude or domineering .... She should be a supervisor!!!!

    October 23, 2013 at 8:00 am | Reply
  21. Lisa

    Thats whats up! Im so happy police lady helped her! Her children was hungry! Im happy to see there is still lots of kindness in the world!

    October 23, 2013 at 8:00 am | Reply
  22. Usually disillusioned

    I've gotten used to reading about how police beat and abuse those they are entrusted to protect...this was a nice change. An officer with compassion...who'd a thunk it?

    October 23, 2013 at 7:55 am | Reply
  23. lily

    I think it's great that the officer was so kind. But I also can't help but wonder how much that huge tattoo must has cost, and how much food that could have bought.

    October 23, 2013 at 7:37 am | Reply
  24. SRJones

    ok so the cop did a good deed. but mom looks healthy enough to get her ass off the sofa and get a job. she has a really nice and expensive tattoo

    October 23, 2013 at 7:18 am | Reply
  25. Frank

    Hopefully the officer give her info on how to apply for food stamps ( SNAPS )?

    October 23, 2013 at 6:55 am | Reply
  26. Richard

    3 kids, tatoos, no husband ?, no job ?, no education ? no support group ?
    Give her BHO food stamps, free cell phone, free car, free place to live.

    What am I missing ?

    October 23, 2013 at 6:47 am | Reply
  27. Voice of Reason

    Why isn't she on food stamps? Surely the cost of providing her with expedited food stamps would outweigh further bogging down our courts and chasing her around to pay a fine or serve time.

    October 23, 2013 at 6:15 am | Reply
  28. nodoubtrocks

    She can't afford food but she can afford that expensive tattoo on her chest.

    October 23, 2013 at 6:05 am | Reply
  29. Steve Garan

    I think a Commendation for this Officer is in order here !!! ... Humanitarian above and beyond the call of duty ... Outstanding !!!

    October 23, 2013 at 4:09 am | Reply
  30. liz balmore

    This story made me cry. Because I have been there before and its not easy. God bless you and may god be with you and your kids always.

    October 23, 2013 at 3:23 am | Reply
  31. mike

    what a cop....wonderful

    October 23, 2013 at 3:16 am | Reply
  32. James

    If they are hungry all the time, why are the fat?

    October 23, 2013 at 3:08 am | Reply
  33. Mohamad

    from my point of view he is a good man deal as a human being because of her children

    October 23, 2013 at 12:26 am | Reply
  34. Karan

    Top man.. But beside him most of the cops are rude

    October 23, 2013 at 12:23 am | Reply
  35. Joe

    This is beautiful. I wanna do something like this one day. The sooner the better

    October 22, 2013 at 11:47 pm | Reply
  36. Eleda

    where the hell is the father? take her to jail and find the father, make him pay her too. find a job for her.

    October 22, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Reply
  37. Jay

    so much for cops enforcing the law i guess.just gotta give some sob story and you can get away with stealing

    October 22, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Reply
    • TeamCNNCNN

      Hello, Jay,
      Thank you for your comments. The woman was charged for her actions, but the police officer also showed compassion by helping her family.

      Have a lovey day!
      CNN Viewer Comms

      October 24, 2013 at 6:58 am | Reply
    • Mary Earth

      did you not read? She got arrested and charged.

      October 24, 2013 at 9:19 am | Reply
  38. Debbie DiFloria

    Very nice of the Officer, but my question is does this woman get food stamps? I know a lot of people abuse food stamps by selling them to people for 1/2 the value. I am not saying this woman did this but was wondering if she gets assistance. A pat on the back to the Officer though for his kind heart! 🙂

    October 22, 2013 at 9:04 pm | Reply
  39. Yussuf

    may the Almighty God reward the police officer,,am touched ,,

    October 22, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Reply
  40. Latarsha

    God bless the police officer we need more people helping people our country and people need to stick together. Times are very hard

    October 22, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Reply
  41. kenneth

    Congrats to the Officer for stepping up and doing the RIGHT thing! She still has to be responsible for her behavior held accountable but given what she needed by the one person who could of just arrested her, this Officer deserves an award for being human.

    October 22, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Reply
  42. Fouzia

    This is a cop who swore to protect the law, but still has a human heart. Good job, let her deal with the courts later after she feeds her kids.

    October 22, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Reply
  43. Eric Chiong

    Cool officer. The Officer should have made her contact Salvation Army to get a list of Food Banks nearby for the kids afterwards.

    October 22, 2013 at 8:22 pm | Reply
  44. benjamin rudoy

    Was it so hard to be in the side of the people instead of the law,"I was hungry and you fed me"Whomever does this to the littlest of your brothers does it for me.

    October 22, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Reply
  45. sarah1969

    God Bless the officer!

    October 22, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Reply
  46. G. Allen

    Hats off to Officer Thomas for serving justice and solving a problem that the system wont. Her out of pocket assistance certainly is a lot less expensive compared to what the cost would be if she arrested the woman then called in Child Services to check on the kids. Its money well spent and will certainly be paid forward tenfold. Thank you Officer!

    October 22, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Reply
  47. Hamed Moses Brainwill

    Wow! I feel like crying.Even in God's own America?May God help us all.

    October 22, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Reply
  48. Paloma

    Love hearing stories like this! Wish everybody was like the officer.

    October 22, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Reply
  49. James M. Head

    The Officer acted out of kindness and compassion. The ticket was out of the books a law. Throwing the mother in jail would have turned a bad situation into a Sad situation. If the woman had a caring neighbor or family she would not been desparate for food. It didn't describe the food she was stealing but I hope it was healthy and not candy or sodas.

    October 22, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Reply
  50. Kelly

    May God bless you abundantly for being such a blessing to this family. It just warms my heart to know there ARE still good people out there!

    October 22, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Reply
  51. Jet Jockey

    A great story for a Tuesday.

    October 22, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Reply
  52. Virtuous Simmons

    I wish I could shake the hand of this police officer. GOD bless her and the family that's struggling....

    October 22, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Reply

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