Former marine, 81, bludgeons burglars with his antique walking stick

An 81 year-old former US Marine was able to scare off a gang of burglars with his antique walking stick – and even landed a blow on one. Dan Donovan, from Chicago, used the traditional Irish walking stick, known as a shillelagh, after being conned into letting the gang into his home on November 4.

Dan and his wife Barbara opened the door of their home earlier this month to a man claiming to be a utility worker, who asked to see a basement fuse box. The couple accompanied him there, only to hear footsteps squeaking upstairs. Barbara yelled ‘Danny! Somebody’s in our bedroom.’

Realizing they’d fallen victim to a con involving two other crooks, Dan ran upstairs to try and chase the other two men from their bedroom. He said: ‘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.’

The stick, which has a hardened knob of wood at one end, belonged to Dan’s Irish grandfather. He was able to use it to whack one of the three crooks on his head as he fled the house. Dan also delivered several more blows to the criminals’ windshield and rear window as they fled in an SUV.

Dan said afterwards: ‘Hopefully they got nothing more than a headache and hopefully they pursue another occupation.’

The burglars were able to steal a pillowcase filled with some of the couple’s possessions with Dan saying he had considered grabbing on to one of the men’s gold chains to choke him.

He and Barbara fell victim to the con after receiving a genuine letter from their energy company the previous day, saying that its workers would be making a future visit to check their power, the Journal & Topics reported.

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