As Europe grapples with a crippling financial crisis, here's a spot of good news from Italy.
An Italian policeman is being hailed as a hero after he paid for a woman who'd stolen candy from a supermarket, reports the Corriere Della Sera.
Arturo Scungio (pictured above), a sergeant from Milan, told the paper that he caught the shoplifter, a 76-year-old woman named Angela, after she'd passed through the checkout without paying for a box of Tic Tacs. "She was obviously very scared and was shaking like a leaf," he said. "I quickly realized that she was not wealthy, but one of those people who struggles to make it through the first week of the month."
Angela told the police officers that she was living on a monthly pension of approximately $400. "She called me her son and said that she always pays her taxes," Sgt. Scungio said.
According the Guardian, the supermarket's manager decided not to press charges. Scungio took the woman back to the supermarket, opened his wallet and paid the $1 she owed for the Tic Tacs. A crowd gathered near the store immediately burst into applause.
The Guardian also reported another story -- that of an Egyptian man who was trying to steal supplies from a store near Siena. According to the Il Sita De Firenze, the 27-year-old and his brother had filled bags with milk, pasta, diapers and baby food and were attempting to leave without paying.
The store's owner noticed the pair and called the police. However, the officers quickly realized that the suspected shoplifter was just trying to feed his family -- he was unemployed, and married with two children. The officers offered to pay for the groceries and reported the case to the social services. The store's owner refused to press charges.
Of course, stories of cops acting as Good Samaritans exist on this side of the Atlantic too. Earlier this year, the Examiner reported that Cheryl Goede, a police officer from St. Louis, Minn., set up a fund for AJ Hawk, an unemployed homeless man who was living in his car. Goede was inspired by Hawk's dedication to his two German Shepherds and decided to help him out. She managed to raise some $3,700 for him.