Const. Niran Jeyanesan of the Toronto Police. Image credit: (The Canadian Press)

Cop buys shirt, tie for alleged thief who was taking them for job interview

Toronto police officer praised for a compassionate approach to the situation

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.”

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 principle 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.

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.

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.

Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Albas takes on mortgage changes in town hall

Conservative MP mostly echoed chamber of commerce concerns but sparred with one attendee on details

Penticton Vees defenceman Tychonick has four point night

Jonny Tychonick had a goal and three assists to lead the Penticton Vees to a win over Prince George

Penticton organizer caught off-guard on NHL Young Stars comment

Penticton event chair said he cannot confirm or deny anything, just that an event will be held in the city

South Okanagan curling team sweeps into BC Games

Team consisting of Summerland and Penticton players qualifies for the BC Games

Penticton hospital fourth busiest in the region for opioid overdose

The highest was Kelowna General with about 355, followed by Vernon Jubilee 310 and Royal Inland in Kamloops with 180

Your Jan. 19 Morning Brief

Check out the top stories of the day in the Okanagan-Shuswap with Carmen Weld’s Black Press Morning Brief.

Christopher Garnier appealing murder conviction in death of off-duty cop

Jury found Garnier guilty in December, rejecting his claim she died accidentally during rough sex

Transportation watchdog must revisit air passenger obesity complaint

Canadian Transportation Agency must take new look at Gabor Lukacs’ complaint against Delta Air Lines

Gas plants verdict coming down today; ex-premier’s top aides to learn fate

Verdict to be delivered on senior staff to former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty

Vernon homeless camp decommissioned

Camp off Highway 97 near 48th Avenue knocked down Thursday

Rock slide closes Hwy. 1 south of Ashcroft until Friday afternoon

A rock slide Thursday afternoon near Spences Bridge closed the highway in both directions

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

Most Read