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Police officer pays for shoplifting suspects' holiday dinner

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This undated photo provided by the Somerset Police Department shows Officer Matt Lima in Somerset, Mass. He is being praised for using his own money to purchase $250 gift cards for two women accused of trying to steal groceries last month. The women said they wanted to provide a Christmas meal for their children. (Somerset Police Department via AP)

SOMERSET, Mass. – A Massachusetts police officer declined to charge two women accused of trying to steal groceries for the children — and instead bought them Christmas dinner.

Somerset Officer Matt Lima responded to a report of shoplifting Dec. 20 at Stop & Shop, where two women with two young children were accused of putting groceries into bags at a self-checkout kiosk without scanning them.

The women said they had fallen on hard times and were trying to provide a Christmas dinner for the children. Lima says he was reminded of his own children and used his own money to buy $250 in grocery gift cards.

“His actions exemplify what it means to protect and serve the members of our community," Chief George McNeil said on the department's website.