A search by a local police force for a diaper thief has struck a chord in the United States. Thousands of people have taken to social media to defame the act, and even from outside there have been reactions from people who wanted to help the perpetrator, The Washington Post wrote.
The controversy arose after police in Winter Haven (Florida) posted photos of the man online last month. Went to buy groceries at Walmart with two young children. The man tried to pay for diapers with three credit cards, but they were repeatedly refused. He then took the items with him without paying, according to the police.
“If your credit card is declined and you try again with the same result, this is not an excuse to just buy,” the police said on Facebook. The news sparked outrage. “I’m sure I won’t get a refund, but I’ll pay for the diapers if I leave this guy alone,” Elizabeth Fiedler, 16, wrote on the same day. To her surprise, thousands of people, in turn, offered to pay the bill.
“No one wants to be poor”
The teen felt called to respond as so many people are going through tough times during the COVID-19 pandemic. “People on low incomes in particular are feeling the effects,” she told the newspaper. “No one wants to be poor. No one should feel compelled to steal out of necessity in one of the richest countries in the world.”
When the media began to pay attention to the case, the police had to provide an explanation. A spokeswoman admitted that many people were angry, but Walmart had already lodged a complaint. “And then we have an obligation to do something about it.”
Since then, the supermarket chain has informed the police that the offender does not need to be prosecuted. The diaper thief was also contacted after someone recognized him on Facebook. “We have told him that many people want him and his family to be helped,” the spokeswoman concluded.
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