81-Year-Old Former Marine Fends Off Three Burglars With Antique Walking Stick

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
Font Size:

An 81-year-old former Marine repelled three burglars from his suburban Chicago home with an antique Irish walking stick that was handed down from his grandfather, numerous sources reported.

Dan and Barbara Donovan responded to a knock on their door Nov. 4, and found a stranger wearing a reflective vest and face mask carrying what appeared to be tools, the Chicago Tribune reported. The man said he was from the electric company, and  had to check a “fuse box” following a recent fire nearby.

At first, the encounter didn’t seem unusual because the Donovans had received a letter from the electric company a day prior that said work would be taking place in their area. 

“So when he said he was with the electric company, we let him in,” Barbara Donovan said, according to the Tribune.

It wasn’t until the couple was downstairs with the so-called worker that they began to suspect something was wrong. The man reportedly urged Barbara to come closer to him when she would back away. “He said, ‘If you’re home alone, you won’t know what to do,’ and kept telling me to come closer to him. I thought that was kind of weird,” she told the Tribune.

While downstairs, she heard floorboards above her creak. “I yelled, ‘Danny! Somebody’s in our bedroom!”

Barbara, her husband and the so-called worker proceeded up the stairs to the bedroom, where they found two more men, one of them carrying a pillowcase from the room.

Dan Donovan said he began to chase the intruders, and grabbed his grandfather’s shillelagh while searching for a “persuasive weapon.”A shillelagh is typically crafted from wood, and in the 18th century, shillelaghs were also sometimes used as a weapon in fights. 

“So I picked up the Irish shillelagh and that turned out to be the equalizer because I managed to chase them out of the house,” Dan Donovan said. (RELATED: Chicago Mayor Tells People To ‘Cancel Traditional Thanksgiving Plans’ After Celebrating Biden Victory In Large Crowd)

Donovan struck the man holding the pillowcase in the back of the head, but the man didn’t drop the pillowcase. Donovan followed the men outside, and while barefoot, he began to hit the SUV the men had parked in his driveway, and said he managed to damage the windshield and rear window before they fled. 

“I think I cracked them both,” he said, according to the Tribune.

While the couple says they aren’t certain what, if anything, the burglars stole, they did learn to be more cautious.

“Hopefully they got nothing more than a headache and hopefully they pursue another occupation,” Dan Donovan said.