Const. Niran Jeyanesan of the Toronto Police. Image credit: (The Canadian Press)

Cop buys shirt, tie for alleged thief who was taking them for job interview

Toronto police officer praised for a compassionate approach to the situation

A Toronto police officer who purchased a shirt and tie for an alleged shoplifter after learning the young man needed the clothing items for an upcoming job interview said Tuesday that he wanted to show kindness to someone who had fallen on hard times.

Const. Niran Jeyanesan said he wasn’t rewarding the behaviour of a hardened criminal when he made the purchase, but rather using his discretion as an officer in deciding that this case merited credit card charges rather than criminal ones.

“He was very remorseful, very ashamed,” Jeyanesan said of the teen. “… I could see that this is truly a mistake and this person wanted a chance at life.”

Jeyanesan said the case unfolded on Sunday night when he and his partner were called to a Walmart in the city’s north end in response to a report of shoplifting.

Such calls are routine, but Jeyanesan said the details of this incident quickly caught his attention.

The would-be thief had attempted to steal a long-sleeved shirt, a tie and a pair of socks, he said, adding such items are not common targets for shoplifters.

Jeyanesan said the unusual merchandise prompted him to try and dig deeper and find out the reasons behind the teen’s actions.

The story he heard was of a young man in a time of crisis, he said.

His family had recently lost their home after his father — the principle bread-winner — fell seriously ill, he said, adding the 18-year-old felt mounting pressure to fill the financial void and help provide for his parents and younger siblings.

Jeyanesan said the teen had secured a job interview for a “service industry position,” but did not have professional-looking clothes to wear.

As the interview date approached, he resorted to shoplifting out of desperation and a lack of awareness of other options available to him.

“We try to get everybody’s story when we attend calls. Everyone has their own battles that they’re fighting,” he said. “It doesn’t excuse them, but behind every action there’s a reason why this person is doing it.”

Before police transported the teen back to the station for some additional questioning, Jeyanesan decided he would acquire some suitable clothes for the teen.

He went back into the store to try and select something himself, but didn’t know the teen’s size. He eventually asked the manager to hand over the original shirt and tie, which he purchased for about $40. He opted not to acquire the socks.

Jeyanesan did not present the clothes to the teen himself, but rather left them with the other belongings he had surrendered when entering the police station.

The teen found his interview outfit waiting for him when he recovered his possessions and walked out of the police station without any charges.

Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash praised Jeyanesan’s compassionate approach to the situation, calling it an intelligent use of his officer’s discretion.

“He understood the importance of what happened, that this could easily be seen as a crossroads in this young man’s life, and took the very commendable decision to assist in the way he did,” Pugash said.

Jeyanesan said he has not been in touch with the teen since Sunday. Not even to find out the results of the job interview, which was set to take place on Tuesday.

Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Octogenerian to start New Year with 60-day flight around South America

Cordova Bay’s Bob Vance helped raise $425,000 for Hope Air

Esquimalt’s Pyjama Prance tours Township on a frosty morning

Third annual event sees largest turnout yet, raises $1,738 for The Rainbow Kitchen

Omnibus Victoria Zoning Bylaw raises alarms

Neighbourhood associations, councilors express concern over streamlined development process

VIDEO: Carlton House knitters send warmth to Our Place

Residents of Carlton House have been working all year in preparation for the holidays

Big OT win in Prince George for Victoria Royals

Western Hockey League clubs do battle again in Cariboo on Tuesday

Site C decision coming Monday

Premier John Horgan to announce fate of dam project at B.C. legislature

Saanich Braves pee wee team headed to Ottawa’s hockey on the hill

A Saanich Braves pee wee team are taking their “show on the… Continue reading

Students lose eligibility over school transfer

Academics, catchment have priority over high school sports

Smartphone pedometers underestimate steps, but valuable health tool: study

UBC researchers found the iPhone underestimated steps by 21.5 per cent

Saanich real estate sales top $65 million in November

New figures show the price for an average single family home in… Continue reading

VIDEO: ‘Last Jedi’ premiere kicks off with droids, Daisy Ridley

Latests Star Wars film premiered in style ahead of Dec. 15 theatre debut

Most Read