81-year-old Marine veteran chases off thieves with antique Irish walking stick

NILES, Ill. — An 81-year-old Marine Corps veteran fended off three burglars with his grandfather’s antique Irish walking stick.

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A man wearing a mask, reflective vest and carrying a toolbox knocked on Dan and Barbara Donovan’s door Nov. 4 claiming to be a utility worker, telling them he needed access to their “fuse box,” the Pioneer Press reported.

“We had received a letter from the electric company the day before,” Barbara Donovan said. “So when he said he was with the electric company, we let him in.”

Donovan followed the man to the basement and as he looked at her circuit panel she could hear creaking on the floorboards above.

“I yelled, ‘Danny! Somebody’s in our bedroom,” she said.

She and her husband ran up the stairs followed by the man who said he was a utility worker. They found two more men inside the home, with one holding a pillowcase from their bedroom.

Dan Donovan grabbed his grandfathers shillelagh, an antique Irish walking stick, and hit the man with the pillowcase in the back of the head. The three men fled with the one man still clutching the pillowcase. Donovan continued to chase them, eventually hitting the windshield and rear window of the SUV the men escaped in.

“I was trying to find some type of persuasive weapon. 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,” Donovan said. “Hopefully they got nothing more than a headache and hopefully they pursue another occupation.”