Spokane grocery store owner gives surprise response to shoplifter

Sergio De Leon knows what it’s like to need help.

The owner of the well-known Mexican deli and grocery market in North Spokane grew up going to food banks with his father in Texas.

“Everybody goes through hard times,” said De Leon. “I was there myself.”

Fast-forward to 2016 and De Leon is the owner of a store with his name on it.

But when someone stole from him Monday night, De Leon invited the shoplifter to come back.

“I kind of wanted to show this individual that there are places out there where he can go for help,” said De Leon. “I think we can help him out also.”

The incident was captured on camera, but it’s De Leon’s response that has captured the hearts of so many in Spokane.

De Leon posted the security footage on Facebook and wrote the following post:

“I see you took milk, tamales and other groceries, which makes me think you have a family. If you are in need, please come and see me and I will see that your family gets these groceries without you getting in trouble.”

“We had so many comments this morning on our Facebook page,” said De Leon. “But I don’t want to get any credit. I know this individual is in need and we want to help him out somehow.”

The man hasn’t returned as of Tuesday night, but De Leon hopes the situation will motivate people to give to food banks, so that people don’t have to steal.

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