Senior Corporal Keith Bradshaw and Officer 1st Class Candace Spragins got a call about a woman stealing food from a Food Lion grocery store in North Carolina. When the two officers went to the suspect’s house, they discovered what they have never expected
The woman ended up being Theresa West, a mother of three adopted children who immediately gave back the $36 worth of food that she had taken.
“I take in wayward kids … but, now I’m disabled,” West told the officers when they got there. She was just about to cook the spaghetti she had stolen when they arrived.
“She was crying and upset, and she was just scared,” Spragins said. “The family hadn’t eaten in three days. They just needed to eat. She just needed to feed her family.”
West broke down in tears as the officers searched her home and found “barren” cabinets. The officers were left with no choice but to arrest West for shoplifting and take her back to headquarters. There, Spragins explained West’s situation to the magistrate, who released West on $500 unsecured bail.
“The magistrate called his mother! He said, ‘Mama, this girl needs some food. We’re gonna have to hook her up,’” West said.
The magistrate’s mother put together a care package for West while Bradshaw called local churches to ask for help. After learning that the churches only donated food on specific days of the month, Bradshaw and Spragins went on their own accord to shop for groceries that West desperately needed.
“We started in the fruits because they’re in the front of the store,” Spragins said. They ended up buying oranges, apples, bananas, green beans, a 10 pound bag of potatoes and corncobs. Spragins said, “After that, we hit the meat aisle along the back.”
There, they grabbed pork chops, bacon and “thick” chicken breasts.
“We knew kids were in the house, so, of course, we had to grab a Coke or two and some Sprite,” Spragins said. “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.”
Bradshaw and Spragins delivered the items to West’s home and were later hailed by the community when their story was shared on Facebook.
“Sometimes police work is not cut and dry. We are people first and cops second,” the post read.