Cop Pays Shoplifter’s Tab After Finding Out What She Stole

A New Hampshire police officer let a shoplifter off the hook when he found out the woman stole ingredients to bake her son a birthday cake.


Officer Michael Kotsonis has served the Portsmouth, New Hampshire community for an astonishing 19 years. In that time, he’s learned the value of making a compassionate judgement call, even in the face of lawbreaking. Want proof? Check out what he did for one economically disadvantaged mother.

Officer Kotsonis responded to a call at a local Ocean State Job Lots, a grocery store chain popular in the Northeast. Employees told him a woman had stolen cake mix, shortening, and “a couple things of frosting.”

Kotsonis learned the woman’s identity and traveled to her home to recover the stolen items and, presumably, arrest the woman or issue her a fine. But when he got there, he discovered that the woman’s situation challenged the normally binary procedure for handling a shoplifting offense.

The woman had stolen the items to bake a birthday cake for her young son. Kotsonis says he doesn’t think resorting to theft was appropriate, but “I’m not going to take away a kid’s birthday cake.” So, he went back to the store and paid for the lost items.


Kotsonis kept quiet about the incident. “I didn’t do it for the attention,” he said. “What you do when no one is looking, that’s the character of someone.”

Nonetheless, a store employee reported the incident to the Portsmouth Herald.

Frank Warchol, acting deputy police chief for the force, said he was initially unaware of Kotsonis’s actions, but is proud the officer took the action he did. According to CBS, Warchol said Kotsonis exemplifies the department’s mission statement emphasizing community, commitment and compassion.

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Timothy Bertrand
Writer and journalist living in the Houston, Texas area. Follow me for breaking news, editorials, pictures of cats doing human activities, and other such content from around the web.


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