MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. — Two Westchester police officers are being commended for handling a recent shoplifting call at a dollar store with some compassion.
Officers Cartwright and Velez were dispatched to a Mount Vernon Dollar Tree back on May 1 after a call for a possible shoplifting, the Mount Vernon Police wrote in a Facebook post.
After the store manager directed the officers to the person of interest, they approached the man and realized he was homeless and “just looking for socks,” police said.
Officer Cartwright consulted with the manager and decided the best possible outcome would be to buy the man the socks he was allegedly trying to steal.
“I’ll tell you what, I’ll buy you a couple pairs of socks, but you gotta stop stealing,” the officer is heard saying in body-camera footage.
He tells the store associate he’s going to pay for over two dozen pairs of socks before asking the man which color socks he wanted.
“Listen, I know how important it is to have a nice pair of socks, especially when you’re out runnin’ around,” the officer says.
Meanwhile, Officer Velez can be heard advising the man that he could come down to the station for assistance and services he might be in need of.
“Swing by headquarters, we can get you some information…at least get you a bed and a shower,” he tells the man in the footage. “I know with COVID, it’s tough,” he says.
The cops noticed the man was not wearing a face covering and offered to buy him a mask, as well.
The man thanked the officers again as they all left the store and went on his way.
“Even though we are all going through some trying times, some of us are in tougher situations than others,” the Mount Vernon Police wrote in the post. “The positive incidents happen every day in our city, not only with the police, but also with our other municipal employees and our business partners.”
PIX11’s Dan Mannarino spoke with both officers Wednesday on the PIX11 Morning News. Watch the full interview above.