EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. (WEAU) - A summertime tradition went sour Friday morning after witnesses said an 83-year-old woman stole a sword from an Eau Claire thrift sale.
At a sale on Skeels Avenue, owners said the woman hid a $60 sword by her side and got in her car without paying. The owner confronted her and she admitted to taking it and that she'd stolen items before, he said.
The owner called police but the woman later decided to pay for it, and he told officers not to arrest her.
Police said they haven't seen any similar crimes, but many likely go unreported. They suggest having extra people watching customers, and keeping valuables secured.
Local buyers and sellers say they were surprised, but that there's a valuable lesson to learn.
"You would think that an 83-year-old woman would know better," shopper Jesse Yang said.
"You know the old saying the hand is quicker than the eye, that's true," shopper Joshua Plunkett said.
"People let it go because it's a garage sale, and it's not a business," Plunkett said. "Yes it's stuff they want to get rid of, but at the same time, you're putting in the time and the energy, so you gotta protect it."
The owner said the woman's only reason for taking the sword, was that she's had a hard life.