The suspect was a single father who had fallen on hard times, Roby said. The man was caught stealing baby formula for his six-month-old son, who was with him at the time.

A store official said he didn't want to press charges, and Roby agreed.

"Me citing him for court wouldn't have done any good for him," he said. "He's already short on money, can't afford formula, so me making him appear in court, he's still not going to have any food for that baby."

But what Roby did next showed the shoplifter what it truly means "to protect and serve." He bought some formula himself, giving it to the man for his baby.