Public donates to parents who stole to feed their baby

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Dec 17, 2013 - 19:25
  • Updated : Dec 17, 2013 - 19:25

After a news report about a poor young couple caught stealing in a large store in order to feed their 3-year-old toddler and scrape a living, many people from all walks of life are sending donations.

A 33-year-old husband and his 26-year-old wife, who have struggled to survive after losing their jobs and becoming credit delinquents, wrote letters of gratitude to their kind-hearted donors.

They were booked without detention on Dec. 9 on charges of stealing a total of 3.5 million won worth of goods on dozens of occasions in a large mart in Gwangju. 

Goods that people sent to parents caught stealing to feed their baby are piled up in the Dongbu Police Station in Gwangju on Tuesday. (Yonhap News)
Goods pilfered by the parents of a 3-year-old boy were mostly foods such as eggs, snacks, canned tuna and dumplings or household items including baby shoes, baby clothes and shampoo.

After their story was reported, people called the Dongbu Police Station, wishing to help them. Some sent money and living daily necessities. Various goods including rice, crackers, ramen, toilet paper, school supplies, long johns and shoes arrived at the police station.

An old woman living on Jejudo Island sent a box packed with shoes, snacks and other daily necessities that her grandson had given to her.

She included an encouraging letter that read, “I couldn’t stand by after hearing of the news. ... I am sending money my grandson gave me for my birthday. Cheer up.”

Lotte Department Store in Gwangju sent 1 million won worth of goods such as baby winter clothes and living necessities. Gwangju Metropolitan Government also decided to provide emergency welfare support.

Officers of the police station also will chip in for donations. A senior prosecutor working in Seoul sent 200,000 won.

Money and in-kind donations totaled 1.7 million and 4 million won, respectively.

The donations were delivered at the police station to the boy’s mother, who gave hand-written thank-you letters to the police.

The father of the boy landed a job at a building materials factory and began to work, though he is sick with hepatitis.

The department store had offered him a job but he declined, saying, “I apologize sincerely. I will work hard to pay back for the goods I stole.”

By Chun Sung-woo (