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Caught stealing candy, LA teens get help instead of handcuffs from police

BAKER, La. (WBRZ) - (2/4/2018) It turns out, digging a little deeper can change how you see someone's story. That's what happened last weekend in Baker, Louisiana. Officers for the city were called to a Valero after some kids were spotted taking some candy bars.

After arriving, the kids ran off, but police were able to track them down to their home right outside of city limits. Officer Galen Conrad said as their investigation progressed, they learn the teens' reason for their transgression. "We found out they were stealing because they were hungry." says Conrad. "They were pretty low on food."

What happened next came down to a choice: lock them up or let them go.

"I chose a different way to handle this because I felt like it would have a bigger impact." says Ofc. Conrad. "So I felt like rather than me letting them know hey you're gonna go to jail because you did something bad. Maybe I can counsel these kids and show them that you can ask for help. There are other way to ask for help rather than doing a bad thing."

Officer Conrad and his colleagues came together and went back to the teens' home. When they pulled up, the kids thought they were in trouble, Instead, the officers returned with bags of groceries for the teens and their father. 

15-year-old Deshawn Henry and his 13-year-old brother pocketed the candy, but say the officers actions changed how they see cops.

"First I thought they were bad guys. But they're good people." says Deshawn.

The Henry family, like many others in the Baton Rouge area, have had a tough time bouncing back from the August 2016 floods. Since this story first came out, contractors have offered to help fix up the family's home for free, and more food donations are pouring in.

Detective Louis Hamilton says "Everybody think when they see police I'm either going to jail, arrested or harassed. There are good officers all over the state of Louisiana and they reinforce positive reinforcement into our youth. That's our future."

To find out how you can help the Henry family, click here to go to WBRZ's full story.

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