A police officer investigating a single mother for stealing baby formula went back to the supermarket to pay for the formula.
A single mother in her 40s who stole milk powder and nappies for her newborn baby because she was struggling to make ends meet has been given a helping hand by the police, who bought the milk powder for her.
According to the Gangwon National Police Agency today안전놀이터 (2 March), on 23 March, police received a report that a woman was stealing items from a hypermarket in Gwanseol-dong, Wonju.
The woman tried to leave the supermarket without paying for about 170,000 won worth of items, including groceries, milk powder, and nappies, but was caught by a security guard who became suspicious.
“My baby, who had just come out of the kitchen, hadn’t eaten for 10 hours,” she told the officers, “and I didn’t have any money on me, so I stole the formula even though I knew it was wrong.”
Another woman told police that she was afraid that something would go wrong with her prematurely born baby, who had been living in an incubator.
Sergeant Gotakmin, who was on the scene, initially thought it was an obvious sympathy trick, but after visiting the woman’s home, he changed his mind.
The woman was living in a single room, and inside was a two-month-old baby who was crying by the neck.
The woman, who was raising her baby alone and living on child benefit, had previously been fined for a theft offence, and on this particular day, she had stolen because she didn’t have the money to pay for her share.
Sergeant Ko, who became a father to a child a few months ago, was so moved by the story that he went straight back to the supermarket and bought the milk powder for the child at his own expense.
“It was heartbreaking to see him cry and admit his mistake and say, ‘I did it because I was struggling,'” said Sergeant Ko. “I felt sorry for him because he was trying to take care of his baby despite his difficult circumstances.”
“I thought, ‘Even if I’m going to be investigated, I need to feed my baby first,’ so I gave her the milk powder,” he said.
Sergeant Ko helped the woman by informing her about the support policy that allowed her to pay the fine in instalments, and she responded by saying, “I’m very grateful for all the help I received.”
The Wonju Police Department sent the woman who stole the formula to prosecutors in late March on charges of theft.