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Police dept. faces backlash after seeking whereabouts of man accused of stealing diapers — but the department gets the last word and comes out on top
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Police dept. faces backlash after seeking whereabouts of man accused of stealing diapers — but the department gets the last word and comes out on top

A Florida police department was facing heavy scrutiny after they shared a Facebook post about a suspect reportedly stealing diapers.

What are the details?

According to a Thursday report from Newsweek, police in Winter Haven, Florida, detailed the incident, which took place last week.

The department shared a picture of the man along with his two young children on Facebook and captioned it, "So when your card is declined and you try another one with the same result, that is NOT license to just walk out with the items anyway."

The post continued, "The guy pictured below (poor little kids had no idea) went to Walmart (7450 Cypress Gardens Blvd) on Sept. 15 around 4:30 p.m. and selected items ultimately heading to the self checkout lanes. He walks out of the store leaving the items behind. (He evidently left the children with someone outside because they are not with him the second time.) He comes back in with a different card. That card was also declined several times. BUT ... he decides to take the items anyway. He was seen entering a white SUV, possibly a Chevy Trailblazer. Anyone recognize him?"

At the time of this reporting, the post has received more than 4,400 comments — and the vast majority of the remarks are harshly critical of the police for both outing and shaming the man.

One user wrote, "I'll buy his diapers, doggone. Guess this isn't one of those PD's [sic] that see someone struggling and drops groceries off, or a car seat, or any of that made for tv stuff I've seen. He tried repeatedly to pay, he didn't have the money but had kids who needed diapers. Life's hard yall, sometimes ppl try and still come up short."

The user's comment received more than 3,900 likes in response.

Another user added, "Dude, whoever you may be and if by chance you see this, you're a good dad. Doing whatever is necessary to take care of your kids when the situation called for it."

That particular user's remarks garnered more than 1,900 likes in support.

"Wow," another user mused. "[Y]'all are so 'brave' for shaming and over criminalizing this incident, the amount of money spent on searching for this guy could have just gone to making sure his kids have food and resources? Just a thought."

Others, however, said that the man was not exempt from being held accountable just because he was in need.

"So now it's okay to steal 'necessary' items? I need gas for my vehicle to get to work and food during the day so I'm entitled?" the user asked. "That's calling evil good. If you think he needs help, stand by a register and start paying for 'necessary' items for others."

Another user wrote, "Really surprised to see so many people commending this guy for stealing diapers. Seeing a lot of people saying that he's doing what he needs to for his children, however store bought diapers are a convenience that we take for granted not a necessity."

What else?

The department on Thursday addressed the controversy in a separate Facebook post, writing, "We know everyone is enthralled with the case of the Walmart shopper who walked out without paying after three attempts with three different cards. We did receive a tip of his identity this morning and we made contact with him. We also have been speaking with Walmart and they have signed a waiver of prosecution, meaning no charges will be filed."

The department noted that they delivered this information to the unnamed man, and even went as far as to personally offer him assistance in order to make ends meet.

"We delivered this news to the citizen. We also told him of numerous resources available to include the Police Department," the post added. "We offered assistance and he declined assistance."

The post concluded, "Thank you to all of the caring citizens offering help."

Man steals diapers, wipes from Winter Haven Walmart — now Facebook users want to pay for themwww.youtube.com

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