How a shoplifting arrest turned into an uplifting story

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WILLISTON, Vt. (WCAX) It started as a typical retail theft response for a Williston police officer, but it was his not so typical next move that will warm your heart.

Ofc. William Bouffard says he got called to the town's Hannaford grocery store for a reported theft. When he got there, store supervisors had an inconsolable woman in her 60s who was hyperventilating. The officer says the woman explained she was desperate and could not afford her groceries, so she tried to steal them.

Bouffard told the woman she'd still face sanctions but then he paid her $92 grocery bill.

"If I was in that situation where I was down on my luck and needed any help or assistance, I would hope someone would extend a helping hand to me. So, I felt-- regardless of the uniform-- that I would've done the same," Bouffard said.

The officer also helped put the woman in touch with the Williston food shelf.

She declined an interview with us but said she's thankful to the officer for his generosity.