Dec 17, 2015 10:53 AM

Portsmouth officer who paid for stolen cake mix inspires others to give to struggling family

PORTSMOUTH — An act of kindness by a veteran police officer led others to make gifts after the story reached an international audience.

Officer Mike Kotsonis was investigating a reported shoplifting when he learned the stolen items - cake mix and other ingredients for a birthday cake -- had been taken by a mother who didn't have the money to provide a birthday cake for her child.

READ: Portsmouth police officer pays thief's tab for stolen birthday cake ingredients

Instead of arresting her, he bought the cake supplies for her and a store employee called the Portsmouth Herald, which featured a story on the officer's generosity. That story got picked up by national media and since then, the gifts have been flowing in.

According to a follow-up story on, Kotsonis got a letter praising his actions and a $250 supermarket gift card to give to the mother.

Since then, other gift cards have arrived - and even a fruitcake from Texas.

"People have called and talked to me, and they want to make sure it gets to the proper location. I can say that it is going to put smiles on a couple of kids' faces this Christmas. It is being put to good use," he said.

Kotsonis, however, is taking some kidding from his fellow officers who have taken to calling him "Betty Crocker," or "Cakesonis."

"I didn't do it for the attention," he said. Nor was his behavior unusual, he said.

It's the kind of thing officers "do all the time."

"We don't publicize it," he said. "We don't do stuff to brag about it."

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