Parents’ shoplifting leads to deputies buying shoes for their kids.

December 1, 2015
Deputy John Balowski, left, and Sgt. Adam Lamb.

Deputy John Balowski, left, and Sgt. Adam Lamb.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — Deputies from Mason County Sheriff’s Office get called to retail stores frequently for shoplifting complaints. The evening of Oct. 6 was no different. Sgt. Adam Lamb and his crew of deputies John Balowski and Kyle Boyd, were called to Wal-Mart for a complaint of a husband and wife who were caught by store security for stealing hunting supplies and children’s shoes. The couple was with their two young children.

“Deputy Balowski proceeded to interview the husband while Deputy Boyd and I spoke to the wife,” said Sgt. Lamb. “The children looked to be ages 2 and 4. We found out through speaking with them that they were having an extremely difficult time financially, which is why they stole the items. The husband had hoped to harvest a deer with the hunting supplies and to put shoes on his kids’ feet.

Dep. Kyle Boyd

Dep. Kyle Boyd

“I noticed the children didn’t have any shoes on and I asked the mother if the kids had shoes. She said yes and showed me two pair of very worn out shoes with holes in them.

“The kids were crying and the 4-year-old kept asking us not to arrest their daddy. It’s always a tough position to be in because when the law is broken we have to do our jobs. But, it’s tough for kids to see their daddy get arrested. We don’t want kids to have the impression that police are people who take their parents away.”

The father was charged with retail fraud third degree, a misdemeanor.

The three deputies talked about the incident and decided they needed to do something for the children. So, they pooled their money and bought shoes for the kids. They didn’t tell anyone. They just brought the shoes to the mother, who was tearfully grateful for the gift, Sgt. Lamb said.

“We weren’t looking for any recognition,” Lamb said. “Any one of the deputies on this department would do and has done the same thing.”

Their secret was safe until word got out and someone spoke to the sheriff.

“Adam, Kyle and John are examples of deputies we expect to serve the citizens of Mason County,” Sheriff Kim Cole said. “I hear these stories all the time, not from my deputies but from the public. These men didn’t do anything for any glory and didn’t even think it necessary to tell me about what they did. They love serving and ask nothing in return. They are similar to officers in uniform who daily protect and serve their citizens across the country.”

“We all have children whose ages are close proximity to the kids from this incident,” Deputy Balowski said. “It’s very likely that our children will go to school with these kids and that we, as parents, will be at school functions and other activities with these parents. I think it’s in our best interest as law enforcement to set an example for our children and for adults. Sure, we have to enforce the law and there has to be consequences for stealing. But, people fall under hard times and we are all neighbors here.”

WSCC: I am