A Goodwill employee is facing felony theft charges for what he thought was a good deed, giving discounts to low-income shoppers who couldn’t afford the secondhand goods they wanted to buy.
Andrew Anderson, a 19-year-old from East Naples, Florida, was arrested for the discounts and charged with grand theft.
Anderson said he didn’t intend to steal from Goodwill, just to help out people who needed a hand.
“I’m not a bad person, what I did was with all good intentions,” Anderson told NBC 2.
The Goodwill employee said helping people out made him feel good about himself. He said many customers would come in on bicycles with no other possession and only $2 or $3 to their name, so he would charge them half price for their purchases.
“It makes you feel amazing, makes you feel like that you can actually be the person to help them,” Anderson said.
He said he never saw what he was doing as stealing.
“I wasn’t actually stealing. Goodwill is a giving and helping company, so I took it upon to myself to be giving and helping because I feel people deserve it,” Anderson said.
But his employer at Goodwill Retail and Donation Center saw it differently. When they learned about his unauthorized discounts, they called police and had the employee arrested. Anderson was taken to the Collier County jail and now faces grand theft charges.
“My heart just dropped into my stomach,” Anderson said, adding that he didn’t keep any money for himself and has offered to pay back Goodwill for the money he gave away.
The story comes just days after another Goodwill employee earned praise for her good deed. Bonnie Patton, a grandmother of seven, was a temporary worker at a Goodwill when she came across a 1.75-carat diamond ring. Patton immediately let her employer know, and the woman who unknowingly donated the expensive piece of jewelry got it back.
But officials at the Goodwill store in East Naples said what Anderson was doing didn’t fall in line with their mission.
“Our stores are not around to give a hand out, they’re around to give people a hand up by providing funding,” said Kirstin O’Donnell, a spokesperson for Goodwill Retail and Donation Center in East Naples. “In incidents like this, we always prosecute and the reason why is when people steal from Goodwill, they’re not stealing from the company, they’re stealing from the mission of our organization.”
The Goodwill employee now faces up to five years in prison for his good deed.