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An ordinary shoplifting call. I responded to the department store and the security supervisor said that the female had accomplices who took off with a lot of merchandise. She said that she caught the female and the male driver left the store. I went into the security office and observed a scared female who was in her early twenties. She looked Polynesian and being from Hawaii, I asked if she was Hawaiian. She said that she had some Hawaiian but lived on the mainland all her life. I got her information and then told the supervisor, that I would try to talk to her to get more information about their group of shoplifters.

I left the store and spoke to the female suspect. We talked about her drug problem, to which she had confided to me. She said that she tried to stop so many times before, but she always went back to it and got in with this group of friends who stole to support their habit. I told the female that until she got to the root of the problem, she would always have problems with drugs. She didn't know what the root problem was.  

I started to question her and asked her if she got along with her parents. She said that she didn't really speak to her mom, but she was really close with her father. I asked her if they were still together and she started to cry. She said that they were divorced and it really bothered her and she never got over it. I asked her if she thought that this could be the problem. She then said that what really bothered her was that her father remarried and moved to California. She started to sob and said that she couldn't understand why he would leave her when she needed and loved him so much.  

I then asked again if this could be the root of the problem and she answered that it was. I asked if there was any way she could speak to her dad about it, and maybe move down there with him. That way she could build on this relationship again, and she would get away from her so-called friends. She said that her dad had asked her to do just that. I told her it would be a great idea, and that she could start her life all over again. I did tell her that she needed to show that she was trying to change, and that the first thing she should do is bring back all of the stolen items that was taken from the store. She promised me that she would do that.  

I told the security supervisor of my conversation with the female and she scoffed at her ever bringing back the merchandise. I told her that we could only hope. The next day was my day off. I received a phone call from the desk sergeant. He said that he was relaying a message from the security supervisor at the store I went to the day before. She wanted me to know that the young woman not only brought back all of the items that she stole, but also items from the times that they didn't know about. It gave me hope that this woman would try to change her life. 

Yes, this went beyond the scope of my duties as a Law Enforcement officer, but it didn't go beyond the scope of my duty as a Christian or just a good human being. Even though they are suspects, their lives count. All we can do is plant the seed and hope that it grows. We never know if this is the time that can change a persons life forever.

About the Author


Lester L. T. Letoto, Everett Police Department, Washington (ret.) is a 27 year veteran of law enforcement.  He can be contact via the website publisher.

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