These police officers in Orem, Utah, probably never thought they’d steal hearts -- especially not for helping out a shoplifter.
Cops from the Orem Police department responded to a call in late November and discovered Rebecca Freemont, a single-mother of two, was trying to take food.
"This [theft] was totally different [from most cases]. It wasn't Bluetooth speakers, it wasn't things that are luxuries," Officer Jared Goulding told ABC News affiliate KTVX-TV. "It was food to feed her family that she couldn't afford otherwise."
Troubled by the mother’s plight, Goulding and other responding officers took a special interest in Freemont and even checked in on her at her low-income government housing complex where they made another astounding discovery.
"There wasn't any type of TV or entertainment, nothing on the walls,” Goulding said as he described Freemont’s home. “The only thing, as far as decoration, was a picture of a Christmas tree that it looked like the kids had kind of colored on and decorated to decorate their Christmas tree.”
That’s when Goulding had an idea.
Orem Police decided to organize a sub-for-Santa project for Freemont, in which they collected money and furniture donations amongst themselves in order to help the struggling mother out.
When word of their charitable act was covered by KTVX on Dec. 10, the police started receiving cards and money to help them buy Christmas presents for Freemont's kids.
Orem police eventually received enough money to buy Freemont a real Christmas tree, presents for the kids, and -- most importantly -- tons of groceries.
Other police officers across the country have also shown compassion for shoplifting moms. Last July, Officer Mark Engravalle bought diapers, wipes and shoes for a mother who tried to steal them from a Kansas City Walmart after he noticed her children were barefoot. And on Nov. 19, a police officer in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, bought a desperate mother the ingredients for a cake after she initially stole them for her son’s birthday.
These are small acts of kindness, but for women down on their luck, it means the world.