EXCLUSIVE: Orem shoplifting incident ends in compassionate holiday twist

OREM, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - In a desperate effort to feed her children, a struggling single mom says she resorted to shoplifting groceries.  Police responded to the incident like they would any other but quickly recognized their need to do more than simply fight crime. 
 
Rebecca Freemont and her family watched in awe as Orem Police carried it all in.  Her two children expressing excitement but also overwhelming feelings of gratitude to have simple things others so often take for granted. 
 
"They brought us gifts, and they brought us food..." listed Freemont's 10 year-old daughter Jasmine.
 
"[It's] everything that we need to survive that we couldn't afford," Freemond said. 
 
Just a month ago, the struggling single mom could not pay for groceries.
 
Orem officers say they initially thought they were responding to an average shoplifting incident but found Freemont with only basic food items when they arrived. 
 
"This was totally different... It felt wrong not to help," said Jared Goulding, an officer who responded that day. 
 
Goulding and other responding officers started doing some digging around and even paid Freemont a visit at her low-income government housing complex. 
 
"There wasn't any type of TV or entertainment, nothing on the walls.  The only thing as far as decoration was a picture of a Christmas tree that looked like the kids had kind of colored on," Goulding recalled. 
 
That is when they decided to help.  
 
The project started small.  Orem officers collected money and donations amongst themselves, and a few local business chipped in.  Pretty soon, Good 4 Utah caught wind of the idea.
 
"This news is Good 4 Utah, we heard about it and wanted to share it with you," Good 4 Utah's Ali Monsen reported last week. 
 
"Everyone just saw the story on facebook, social media..." Goulding said.  "We've had people from the community hear our story, send letters in with a little bit of money to help us get presents," he explained. 
 
The public servants refinished a kitchen table, brought in an actual tree, delivered stockings, gifts, a plasma screen TV (that a community member donated) and of course, baskets of groceries. 
 
"They offered to do all this, and I had no idea it would be this much.  It's amazing," Goulding said.  
 
"Every day, I was like thinking, 'What are we going to do for Christmas?' and then they came," Jasmine said. 
 
Police say the store could still press charges but has not so far.

More Stories

  • Weather Ball
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Email Signup
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Weather School
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Download ABC4Utah Apps
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest News

Video Center