81-Year-Old Marine Vet Successfully Confronts Burglars with Antique Walking Stick


Three burglars thought they had an easy mark when they targeted the suburban Chicago residence of 81-year-old Dan Donovan.

As it turns out, they were wrong.

The ex-Marine grabbed his grandfather’s antique shillelagh, a wooden Irish walking stick, and fought off the intruders.

“I hit the one guy on the back of his head,” the former Marine said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “I’m certain he had a headache.”

The incident earlier this month began when one of the intruders, disguised as a utility worker, knocked on Donovan’s door.

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Donovan’s wife, Barbara, said she didn’t think anything of it.

“We had received a letter from the electric company the day before, so when he said he was with the electric company, we let him in,” she told the Tribune.

The man then led the Chicago couple into the basement of their home, which gave an opening for his two accomplices to sneak in through the unlocked front door.

Then, their cover was blown when Barbara heard creaking floorboards above her head.

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

When the couple discovered the two additional intruders, Barbara ran upstairs, followed by her husband and the fake utility worker.

“I started chasing them to get them out of my house,” Dan Donovan said.

He then went to the dining room.

“I was trying to find some type of persuasive weapon,” Donovan said. “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.”

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Seeing that one of the men had a pillowcase filled with stolen goods, Donovan swung his walking stick and struck that thief on the head.

As the three men fled, Donovan continued his pursuit — barefoot. The three men quickly climbed into an SUV parked nearby, hoping for a quick getaway.

Donovan wasn’t going to let them off that easily and repeatedly thrashed the vehicle with his unorthodox weapon.

“I managed to get a good swing at the windshield and the rear window,” he told the Tribune. “I think I cracked them both.

Barbara Donovan said that, at the time, she was on the phone to police, who arrived shortly after the intruders left the couple’s home.

Unfortunately, amid the excitement, the Donovans didn’t get the license plate number or any other identifying details of the SUV. However, after being roughed up by an 81-year-old ex-Marine, the cowardly burglars should consider a new line of work.

Donovan said he hasn’t figured out if any stolen goods were valuable.

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

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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