WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida police department faces backlash on social media after asking for the community’s help in identifying a man who stole diapers and baby wipes from a Walmart after two of his credit cards were declined.
The Winter Haven Police Department posted images to Facebook on Saturday, September 18 from store surveillance cameras showing the man in the store with two young children and a cart with diapers and wipes. Police say the theft happened on September 15.
According to the Facebook post, the man attempted to buy the items at the self-checkout lanes, but his card was declined several times.
Officers say he left the items behind and came back into the store to try a different card. When that card was also declined, police say he took the items anyway.
“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,” police said in the post.
Many Facebook commenters said they found it distasteful that the police department publicized the diaper theft the same way it would handle the theft of items that are more expensive and less needed, such as electronics.
“WHPD what happened to protect & serve. While I don’t condone stealing why don’t y’all step up and see how you can help this dad instead of berating him. I’ll help pay for the diapers and wipes,” one person commented.
“When you figure out who he is, send me his info so I can pay for a year supply of diapers and wipes for his children,” another commented.
If you recognize the man, police have asked the community to call the department at 863-291-5736.
For families in need of diapers, you can contact Champions for Children at 813-673-4646.