Shoplifter Scores Job on Second Chance

By Kevin Masterman, Toronto Police Service Published: 6:28 p.m. August 11, 2017
Updated: 10:35 a.m. August 14, 2017

A small investment paid off quickly for an officer who bought a shirt and tie for a shoplifter instead of doling out a theft under charge.

A man in TPS uniform
Constable Niran Jeyanesan helped out a young man who was shoplifting clothes for a job interview

The 18-year-old landed a job wearing that same shirt and tie. He starts Monday.

"He thanked me for my help," Constable Niran Jeyanesan said. "As police officers we want to solve the problem. He was stealing this shirt because he wanted a job. Now he has one. In many cases, charging someone is the best way to solve the problem. Sometimes it's not the best solution."

He said officers often deal with people who do not take the right path and squander second chances, but he, along with fellow officers, felt this instance was different.

"In this case, something clicked and I believed in him" said Jeyanesan, who also referred his father to another job.

Officers arrived at  a department store for a theft call, finding an 18-year-old in the custody of loss prevention officers for having stolen a dress shirt, tie and socks.

“These are not usual items for someone to steal, so I was intrigued by it,” said Jeyanesan, who attended the call with partner Kristen Yarlett. “He was apprehensive to talk about it, at first, but he began to open up.”

Jeyanesan learned the young man had stolen the items to attend a job interview. With his father sick and unable to work, he had decided to help out his family.

“He was a well-spoken kid. He had made mistakes,” said Jeyanesan, of the high-school graduate who had been precariously housed over the last few years because of his own bad behaviour. “He was very remorseful for his actions that day. We all make mistakes and someone, at some point, gives us a second chance. I thought about it and went back inside to buy him the clothes he wanted.”

Jeyanesan spoke to the store manager to retrieve the clothes the 18-year-old picked out and the officer paid for them out of his own pocket.

After talking to the young man’s father, back at the station, he, his partner and detectives, consulted and no charge was laid against the young man.

We all make mistakes and someone, at some point, gives us a second chance

Discretion used in shoplifting call

“It was a case that allowed us to use our discretion. You could truly see that this person was trying to do something with his life,” Jeyanesan said, of offering positive encouragement to a young man trying to find his way. “This is a chance where we get to do something good.”

He says it was his opportunity to help, noting it’s something he hears officers doing on an ongoing basis, whether diverting a young person from the courts through a diversion program or giving a gift card to a single mom struggling to put food on the table.

Jeyanesan left the new clothes for the young man to claim when he was released and continued with his shift responding to calls for service.

“I was surprised it was recognized because it’s such a small thing,” the three-year officer said. “It was a chance to do something positive and all the detectives and my superiors were glad I did it.”

Staff Sergeant Paul Bois was proud of Jeyanesan’s work.

“You’re supposed to set a positive example as a police officer, and be a role model and he certainly did that,” said Bois. “When you come on this job, it is to help people and that’s what he did. He listened to his circumstances and learned more.”

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