FAIRFIELD — A call from a department store to take a shoplifter into custody is not an uncommon occurrence, but a responding officer paying for the stolen items is.

That’s what happened when Sgt. Hector Irizarry showed up at Kohl’s on Tunxis Hill Road on July 11.

“I saw a lady in need who couldn’t afford to purchase clothing for her young daughter,” Irizarry said. “Although the complainant signed a written statement requesting an arrest, I felt compelled to help a person in need, and to show her that we cared about her young daughter and her financial situation.”

Irizarry was the supervisor on the call, and according to officer Ryan Mignone, Dannella Scarlett, 27, of Bridgeport, had been stopped by store security after she was seen allegedly concealing merchandise, and then tried to leave the store without paying.

Scarlett had two small children with her, an infant and a 6-year-old girl. She told police she was having some hard times and was stealing the clothing for her daughters, according to the report. Other than a previous larceny arrest, police said Scarlett had no other criminal history.

The merchandise she was trying to steal was $156 worth of girls and juniors items, and $44 worth of adult products. Scarlett was charged with sixth-degree larceny, and released on a promise to appear.

Irizarry said with all of the negative light cast on law enforcement today, he wanted this “small token” of empathy to show Fairfield officers care about the citizens in their community.

This story, Chief Gary MacNamara said, shows police officers care.

“On that call, Hector cared twice,” MacNamara said. “He cared about Kohl’s by holding a person accountable for a theft of property. He then cared enough about a mom and her daughters to have a brighter day, get new clothes, and smile. It doesn’t get better than that.”

greilly@ctpost.com; 203-842-2585