Cop gives shoplifter a break instead of busting him

Being a police officer these days, you never know who or what you'll come across. For Mount Vernon cop Chris Cartwright, this encounter was one he won't soon forget.

"You're a little light on some socks, right," Officer Cartwright can be heard saying on his bodycam video captured inside a Dollar Tree store over the weekend.

The store manager had waved him down, claiming a customer was shoplifting. And when Cartwright walked in, he confronted the suspect. The exchange was captured on the officer's bodycam footage, too.

"I walked up to him and he gave me the face of 'You got me,'" Cartwright said. "He admitted right away that he was stealing socks."

So the officer asked the man why he was shoplifting. 

"'I'm homeless,'" Cartwright said the man replied. 

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Cartwright could have put this guy in cuffs and charged him with shoplifting. But a different type of instinct kicked in. Once heard the man's story, he knew he had to help. And he did.

Cartwright bought him a month's supply of socks and sent him on his way. No charges filed. And at a time when police and community relations are strained, Cartwright said he knows he made the right call.

"The best days are when you get to go home and know you helped someone that day," Cartwright said. "Those are the days we strive for."