This Mother Was Arrested For Stealing Groceries, Then Police Saw That Her Kids Hadn’t Eaten In Days

The two North Carolina police officers thought it was a routine call, yet it ended up affecting them deeply. It all started one day in late 2017 when the officers responded to a report of a theft from a store in Hillsboro, North Carolina. A local woman had allegedly stolen groceries from a supermarket, but what the cops found out about the accused gave them both plenty of food for thought.

The store theft on November 4th, 2017, was spotted by staff at the outlet of local grocery chain Food Lion as it was in progress. They watched as the female shoplifter took food off the shelves and then left the supermarket in the south of Hillsboro without paying.

The manager then gave chase and followed the perp out to the store’s parking lot. As the alleged thief got into a ride and sped away, the Food Lion boss was able to take note of the car model and license plate number. The manager furthermore wasted no time in informing the cops about the theft and the details of the gray Pontiac Vive getaway code. With Hillsborough being a small community, there was surely confidence in the notion that the police would pinch the perp. The alleged shoplifter, Teresa West, certainly felt that was the case.

She reportedly realized that she was in trouble. Speaking later to local newspaper The Herald Sun, the 44-year-old said, “I knew they had me. I could see him taking my tag when I drove off.” West allegedly made away with some bread, made pasta and sauce, and a few salad items to the collective value of about $34. While it was hardly the crime of the century, nevertheless, the law is the law.

The case was therefore assigned to Hillsborough officer Senior Corporal Keith Bradshaw and Officer First Class Candice Sprages. Though the investigation didn’t demand much in the way of work, thanks to the Food Lion manager’s quick thinking, they had the license number of the alleged shoplifter’s car.

So it was easy work for Bradshaw and Sprages to use this to access the owner’s driving license details. This, in turn, displayed West’s photo, and the officers were able to compare it to the image of the shoplifter caught on the Food Lion security cameras. The cops apparently had their woman.

Bradshaw and Sprages hence drove the short distance to West’s house in the southeast of Hillsboro. And while the officers didn’t put on their siren, West nonetheless knew they were coming. In fact, she watched the pair driving down the street in their patrol car. Later, West admitted, “I was so scared, so scared. I thought I was going to jail.

When you get desperate, you get desperate. I panicked.” West lives just off Route 70 with her nine-year-old boy and 19-year-old daughter. Moreover, at the time, the mom had a couple of extra mouths to feed, having given temporary accommodation to two of her daughter’s friends. Wes told The Herald Sun, “I’d taken wayward kids, but now I’m disabled.

She explained that she’s unable to work, going to rheumatoid arthritis and brain damage, the latter following a head injury sustained in a car crash. Weston was terrified that the two police officers knocked on her door. Cited in a local newspaper article, Spraggins recounted, “West was crying and upset, and she was just scared.” But although the cops had apparently apprehended their perp, they soon found out something that gave them pause. Spraggins continued, “The family hadn’t eaten in three days.

They just needed to eat.” West’s situation was clearly grim, and it shocked the two officers. You see, Bradshaw checked the fridge in the kitchen shelves to find that other than the stolen food items, the cupboards were bare. West had, in fact, been preparing a spaghetti meal with real garden gains when the officer and his partner arrived at the door. But although the two cops felt desperately sad about the situation, they still had a job to do.

Sprages, therefore, told Wes that they had to come arrest her. Consequently, the mom was charged with shoplifting and taken back to the Hillsboro Police Department HQ. Later, she was made to face the local magistrate. However, she sobbed so much that Sprages had to step in and offer her some tissues. What’s more, Sprages felt a need to intervene in the hearing again, this time to explain to the magistrate about the sad circumstances that led to the theft.

And upon hearing of West’s plight, the magistrate himself was moved to personally help the accused before him. West later told The Herald Sun, “The magistrate called his mother. He said, ‘Mama, this girl needs some food. We’re gonna have to hook her up.'” The magistrate subsequently released the woman with an unsecured bail of $500, while his mother actually made up a care parcel of West and her dependents.

Meanwhile, Bradshaw had been reaching out to charities and churches in the local area. That’s how he learned that the local food banks only issue items on certain days. And unfortunately, this day wasn’t one of them. As a result, Bradshaw and Spraggins decided to take matters into their own hands. The two police officers drove to the local Walmart store with the intention of filling West’s food cupboards and fridge.

And what’s more, the compassionate cops ended up spending $140 of their own money on groceries for West and her family. Spraggins said, “We started in the fruits because they’re the front of the store. After that, we hit the meat aisle along the back. We knew the kids were in the house, so of course, we had to grab a Coke or two and some Sprite. We weren’t sure what they liked, so we figured most people like a dark drink or a light one, so we got some of both.

In addition, Bradshaw and Sprages bought apples, oranges, and bananas from the fruit section, a large sack of potatoes, and some green beans. Next, the officers added some bacon, chicken breasts, hot dogs, and pork chops to their trolley. Ultimately, then, the floor of West’s kitchen was completely covered in grocery bags full of goodies. So when West returned home from her hearing with a magistrate, she was in for quite a shock. Indeed, when the mom saw the Walmart bags on the floor, she was completely overcome.

She was so touched by the kindness of Bradshaw and Sprages, in fact, that she began to cry. She thanked them over and over. West later said, “It was like an act of God.” Meanwhile, Lieutenant Dandy Simmons, the chief of Hillsboro Police, was so pleased with his officers’ work that he posted about it online. Subsequently, the story appeared on the Hillsboro Police Department’s official Facebook page.

And since it first went up, the post about Bradshaw and Sprages’ actions has earned thousands of positive reactions. Simmons said, “We often buy people meals or gas. This is what policing is about in 2017. It has to be about partnership.” As far as Simmons is concerned, this kind of kindness and compassion is all part of the job.

The post continued, “Sometimes police work is not cut and dry. We’re people first and cops second.” In conclusion, the Facebook entry urged any readers who wanted to help West and her family to try and donate goods or cash to local food banks. The post picked up lots of media attention too. And Lieutenant Davis Trimmer, Hillsboro Police Patrol Commander, later spoke to reporters from ABC News.

He said, “We had an overwhelming outpouring of offers to help West as a result of the post, and we’re referring all offers to local food banks. West has gotten help and will be directed to programs that are local that can assist her in the future.” Unfortunately, though, West’s tale of woe is not an isolated case. North Carolina is one of the most impoverished parts of the U.S.

and things seem to be getting worse. According to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, almost 60,000 individuals a week are given food handouts in this region. And about 50% of these food recipients are either senior citizens or children. At the same time, although West’s tale had an uplifting end in this particular chapter, her story isn’t over. The unemployed mom is still facing criminal charges for her shoplifting episode.

West was contrite about her crime, however, and offered an apology. She told the BBC, “I had to go out and steal food, and that’s desperate, and um, I’m sorry for doing what I did, but my kids were hungry.” In any case, though, Bradshaw and Sprages should be applauded for their generosity. In a modern America where sometimes the job of the police is to protect and serve food.

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