Community Rallies Behind Man Who Stole Diapers And Wipes From Walmart

Our world is still healing from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The financial hardship certain families have endured over the past year and a half is incalculable — forcing many to turn to acts of desperation in order to provide even the basic necessities.

Recently, the Winter Haven Police Department in the state of Florida asked for assistance identifying a man who'd shoplifted diapers and baby wipes. What they received was an onslaught of kind-hearted citizens eager to pay for the items in question so that the charges would be dropped. .

On September 18th 2021, the Winter Haven Police Department made a Facebook post asking the community for help.

They needed assistance identifying the man pictured above who had been shopping with his two children.

After his bank card was declined multiple times at the self-checkout station, the man and two children left the store.

"He comes back in with a different card," the Facebook post explained. "That card was also declined several times. BUT... he decides to take the items anyway."

To clarify, the items in question were diapers and baby wipes for his children.

The post was met with a mixture of outrage and disgust. The community at large was quick to condemn the harsh words of the police, with many offering to pay for the items the man had stolen.

"He tried to pay," Facebook user Emily Caddey pointed out. "I’m sure he’s desperate to be a good dad and instead of offering help this just kicks him when he’s down. Disgraceful."

But despite the numerous pleas for leniency, the Winter Haven Police Department remained firm as ever.

The police have reiterated that it doesn't matter what that man stole — it's that he stole. In their official Facebook post, Winter Haven Police wrote "So when your card is declined and you try another one with the same result, that is NOT license to just walk out with the items anyway."

The Winter Haven Police Department was also quick to mention that Walmart enforces a zero-tolerance policy and was seeking prosecution.

Three days later, a follow-up Facebook post was made.

"We know everyone is enthralled with the case of the Walmart shopper who walked out without paying after three attempts with three different cards," the post began. "We did receive a tip of his identity this morning and we made contact with him."

The Winter Haven Police Department also said that after speaking with Walmart, the company agreed to sign a "waiver of prosecution," meaning that absolutely no charges would be filed.

Certain members of the community were upset with how the police conducted themselves.

"Yeah, I'm sure you did that out of the kindness of your hearts, after blasting him on social media and even including that part about "his poor children," Facebook user Angela Stanton wrote. "Sick. I'd be so ashamed if this is who protected and served my community."

"Pretty sure this change of tune is because people called you out for being heartless on the other post," another user said. "I don’t buy this fake concern for a citizen you would have loved to arrest."

The police also said that they spoke to the man about the numerous resources available to him.

Unsplash | Matt Popovich

"We delivered this news to the citizen," the post explained. "We also told him of numerous resources available to include the Police Department. We offered assistance and he declined assistance."

However, Facebook user Kathi Tagliamonte wasn't buying it. She denounced the police and spoke about White Haven's past troubles with racism — stating plainly that this type of behavior was all too familiar to citizens of Winter Haven.

If you or someone you know needs help, there are options available to you.

Unsplash | Colin Maynard

The National Diaper Bank Network has set up over 225 diaper banks all across the country. These depots collect, store, and distribute diapers to needy families who can't otherwise afford them. For more information on where to locate the nearest diaper bank in your surrounding area, click here.

What do you think: should this man have been given a pass or is stealing black and white, regardless of the intent? Leave a comment and let us know!