Jackson County

Police officer: ‘Men with money stole and man with nothing didn’t. Why?’

Pascagoula Police Lt. Darren Versiga tracked down this man after seeing on a surveillance video that he did not take things from a convenience store. Versiga bought the man breakfast and gave him a new pair of sneakers to replace the worn ones he had been wearing.
Pascagoula Police Lt. Darren Versiga tracked down this man after seeing on a surveillance video that he did not take things from a convenience store. Versiga bought the man breakfast and gave him a new pair of sneakers to replace the worn ones he had been wearing.

Lt. Darren Versiga of the Pascagoula Police Department watched a study in human nature unfold on surveillance video after a convenience store clerk walked out on the job and left the door open. What he saw defied logic.

He said someone in a $40,000 SUV walked out without leaving money for what they picked up. He saw customers take beer and cigarettes. And then he saw a homeless man walk in. What happened touched Versiga’s heart. He shared the story on Facebook:

“The video shows people continuing to come into the store not knowing that a clerk was not behind the counter,” he wrote Wednesday night. “I saw the worst in a lot of people tonight. I saw people just helping themselves ... you know ... with stuff that they really needed like beer and cigarettes. Now I saw these people drive up in $20,000, $30,000, $40,000 dollar cars, trucks, and SUV’s.

“I watched them steal just about anything they wanted but then something else happened ... this is the part that defies logic.

“A homeless man walked up who had nothing — nothing at all. He watched as people were walking out as quick as they walked in with all kinds of stuff and get into their cars and leave. He took nothing.

“The people that had Ingalls jumpsuits on and drove expensive cars took beer and candy and cigarettes and the homeless man … nothing.”

It was going on 11 p.m., Versiga said, when he went in search of the homeless man, whom he soon found. Versiga offered to buy him breakfast. The homeless man wanted McDonald’s.

Versiga saw the man’s tennis shoes were falling apart, so he drove the man to his house. The officer gave the homeless man a pair of his own shoes.

“I thanked him for not doing what several did,” Versiga wrote. “ Sometimes we may just be judging the wrong person just by a look or a lifestyle, and before anyone blames one race over the other, I saw both white and black people stealing from this store.

“I saw both male and females stealing from this store.”

Versiga posted a photo of the homeless man and his shoes. He asked that anyone who saw the man “maybe even buy him breakfast or lunch.”

Versiga shared his story after midnight Thursday on Facebook. By 8:50 a.m., it had been shared more than 400 times.

In a comment on the post, Versiga wrote: “The men with money stole and the man that had nothing didn’t. Why?”

Anita Lee: 228-896-2331, @calee99

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