After being called to arrest a teenage shoplifter, a Toronto police officer put himself in the young man’s shoes. Instead of punishing the would-be thief, the officer purchased the items he man attempted to steal.
Const. Niran Jeyanesan was called to a Toronto area Walmart after the store’s loss prevention officer caught an 18-year old shoplifter red handed trying to steal a shirt, tie, and socks.
Instead of arresting him right away, Officer Jeyanesan spoke to the young man and learned that he was trying to steal the clothes so he wear them to a job interview.
“This young person has been facing his own difficulties in life and he was looking to straighten out all that by providing for his family and trying to get a job,” explains Jeyanesan.
After learning why the young shoplifter needed the clothes, Officer Jeyanesan let him go without making an arrest. He then took it upon himself to buy the items he young man tried to steal and give them to the desperate teenager.
“Having a conversation with him, he didn’t have any resources, any other way to go about this,” the officer explained. “I think he really wanted to attend that interview and I don’t think he knew how else to go about this.”
Instead of punishing a young person in a desperate situation, Officer Jeyanesan saw the opportunity to help someone making an effort to change his situation, even if he went about it the wrong way. Jeyanesan says it’s common for police to do this kind of thing, even if they don’t get recognized for it.
“A core part of policing is helping people and I think we do that every day,” says Jeyanesan.
Some may view Jeyanesan’s actions as being a little controversial, but his commanding officer, Staff Sgt. Paul Bois, believes Jeyanesan did the right thing by letting the shoplifter go and trying to help him out.
“Every circumstance is different and in this particular case the individual had undergone some personal difficulties and the officer wanted to help him out with that,” said Bois. “We need to make a positive difference in people’s lives. I think he did.”