Skip to main content

Toronto Toronto cop buys shirt, tie for alleged shoplifter who needed them for job interview

Toronto Police Const. Niran Jeyanesan is shown in Toronto, on Aug.8, 2017.

HO-Toronto Police Service/THE CANADIAN PRESS

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."

Story continues below advertisement

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 principal 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.

Story continues below advertisement

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.

Story continues below advertisement

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.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter