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Shop Owner Thwarts Alleged Thief

A Wayne man is accused of stealing animal charity donation cans.

A quick thinking shop owner and a video surveillance system helped catch a man allegedly in the act of stealing animal charity donation cans on Monday, Oct. 1.

Gerri Whetstone, owner of the Garden Shoppe at the corner of Lancaster Avenue and Sugartown Road in Strafford, told Radnor Patch that when she came into her store on Monday afternoon she immediately noticed that the donation collection can that is always by the cash register was gone.

Two other canisters had been stolen over the summer; the second theft inspired Whetstone to buy a surveillance system in the store. She reviewed the tape and saw that about 20 minutes prior, at about 4 p.m., a man had taken the can, which was collecting donations for The Spayed Club, non-profit dedicated to providing low cost spay and neuter surgeries for cats and dogs in the Greater Philadelphia area.

“What made me madder is that they are stealing from charity,” Whetstone said.

Whetstone decided to check next door at Braxton’s Animal Works, and there she said she saw a man who was wearing the same sneakers that she saw on her tape. The tape did not show his face. The shop owner confronted the man, a 34-year-old man from Wayne, who had been in her store asking for a job.

There was indeed a donation canister in his pocket, but it was not from the Garden Shoppe — it was from Braxton’s, according to Radnor Police Department’s Lt. Andy Block. The man has been charged with Theft by Unlawful Taking, Receiving Stolen Property and Disorderly Conduct.

The last charge stems from the fact that he tried to get away when Whetstone told him she was calling police. Twice Garden Shoppe employees ran the man down and held him while they waited for police.

“I’m just happy they caught him,” Whetstone said. The $27.18 in cash that was found on the man was confiscated by police; it could be ordered as part of restitution if a judge so determines, Block said.

The Garden Shoppe’s canister was not found on Monday, but another one is taking its place on the counter.

John Dallas Bowers October 03, 2012 at 12:18 PM
A hat tip to Ms. Whetstone for her courage. How fortunate her challenge did not lead to an attack by the thief.
Sharpie October 03, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Some people never miss a beat to plant fear. Why don't you too step into the light, John, and spread something worthwhile. "Fear is useless; what is needed is trust".
Gari Brindle October 03, 2012 at 01:06 PM
I will make sure to put my donation in both the Braxton and Garden Shoppe cans. Thanks for your courage - and for helping animals in need!
Ijustthrewupalittlebitinmymouth October 03, 2012 at 01:21 PM
A hat tip to Ms. Whetstone for her courage. How unfortunate her challenge did not lead to an attack on the thief by some massive hounds shopping for biscuits.
The Swell Guy October 03, 2012 at 07:10 PM
I am just happy none of the shop-owners, employees, or patrons were hurt when the man fled and was chased down. Since he has already been charged by the Radnor Police, and is not a minor - why is his name being withheld in this article?

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