Mom caught stealing diapers gets what she deserves

Jul 13, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. ET

Rather than arrest a mother of six for trying to provide for her family the wrong way, this police officer made the decision to lend a helping hand.

What would you do if you were down on your luck and couldn't support the ones you love? Sarah Robinson found herself in this very situation that could've resulted in an arrest if it weren't for a kindhearted police officer.

FOX 6 NOW reports the mother of six has struggled to provide for her family after the loss of her husband, who died years ago in a drowning accident. Living inside her car with her children, Sarah has been able to secure housing for only short periods of time. In desperation and out of diapers for her twin girls, she decided to steal the items she needed for her children from a local Walmart.

Officer Mark Engravalle was called to the scene and made the startling observation that some of Sarah's children did not have shoes. "He noticed [what she stole] were necessities like diapers, shoes for the kids, some clothing," said John Demoss, a Roeland Park public information officer.

When Engravalle confronted the mother about her actions, she broke down crying and began to explain her situation. Robinson revealed she was unemployed and lost her home — along with her family's belongings.The little she had left was stolen from her car. "So I went to Walmart, grabbed clothes, shoes, diapers, wipes, and I just walked out, but they caught me," she told ABC News.

"Obviously she is going through a tough time," said officer Engravalle. "Walmart might see her as a criminal, but I just saw her as a mom going through a difficult time."

Officer Engravalle handed Sarah a misdemeanor theft citation, but not before helping the single mother. He went inside Walmart and used his own money to purchase items for her children — including shoes for each child, diapers and wipes. With two daughters of his own, he thought it was the right thing to do.

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Since her shoplifting incident, Sarah Robinson and her family have received generous support from the community. The Roeland Park Police Department has accepted donations on behalf of the Robinson family that make this mother of six extremely grateful.

Even though stealing is obviously not the answer to your troubles, it's pretty remarkable for an officer to make this judgment call. Some might, however, question why Robinson would allow her children to live in a car — especially when resources are available to help those in need. She mentions running out of people to ask for help and not wanting to lose her children.

Charitable actions like this can have such an impact on people. You never know just how far your selfless gift can help a person in need.

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