After one North Carolina woman and her three adopted children went without food for three days, she had no choice but to resort to extreme measures to feed them.
“We called the churches and everything and everyone was like ‘We go through Interfaith Council, we go through this and go through that’ and nobody would give us anything. We had nothing,” said mom Theresa West, who tried her best to get food from local shelters and church food banks.
When that failed, she went to a local grocery store and stole $36 worth of food. “I had to go out and steal food, and that’s desperate, and I’m sorry for doing what I did but my kids were hungry,” West said. But as West left the store, employees got her license plate and reported it to the police.
Hillsborough Police Department Senior Corporal Keith Bradshaw and Officer First Class Candace Spragins went to West’s home and questioned her about the incident. West admitted to stealing the items and returned everything, but Officer Bradshaw realized the family was just desperate for food. “I opened the refrigerator and it was completely bare. I think there was one little pack of cheese in it,” Bradshaw said.
“This was not a crime out of greed but one seen as necessary by a mother trying to feed a child,” the Hillsborough Police Department explained. While Spragins took West into custody and charged her with theft, Bradshaw went back to the store and bought $140 worth of groceries.“We said, ‘How can we help that and in the same sense help her so that she doesn’t have to feel that she has to go do those things?’” Bradshaw said.
“Sometimes police work is not cut and dry. We are people first and cops second,” the officers said. “My favorite verse is Matthew 23:24, ‘Whenever I was hungry, you fed me,’” West added. “I’m struggling so hard to make it and just to have somebody to come help me is just been a miracle.”