CLEARWATER, Fla. (WWJ/AP) – Police in Florida say a Michigan tourist has returned a wrestling shoe autographed by Hulk Hogan that she took from a store in Clearwater.
Clearwater police spokesman Rob Shaw said the woman, identified as a 55-year-old Trenton, Mich. resident, called the pro-wrestling icon’s Clearwater Beach store on Thursday, saying she wanted to return the shoe.
“She wanted to get the shoe back to the store where it belonged, but she was not in possession of the shoe,” Shaw told WWJ’s Scott Ryan. “So she had to get in touch with people down here that she had met and they were in possession of the shoe. And then late last night, they brought the shoe in question back to the Hogan Beach Shop.”
A security camera captured images of the theft but it wasn’t until Tuesday that employees realized the shoe — valued at $5,500 — was missing. Employees watched the security film and called police.
The video shows a group of four women entering the store and looking at merchandise. When the women are near the cash register, talking with the clerk, some type of disturbance happens outside the store’s entrance. The clerk leaves the counter to check on the situation and the women follow behind. Moments later, one woman walks back in the store, grabs the shoe and nonchalantly walks away.
Shaw said the woman, whose name was not released, was in Clearwater on vacation. She told police she “had done a stupid thing” but that she acted alone.
“In the video, we saw her with three other women. But I know when she talked to us yesterday, she made it clear that the other three had nothing to do with it, that it was her idea and hers alone,” he said. “And I believe that these were people, not necessarily that she had traveled with, but that she had met while she was down here on vacation.”
The woman has not been charged at this time.
“Our officers and detectives need to still do a thorough investigation and that might include talking to Mr. Hogan and to the state attorney’s office as well to figure out whether or not this woman will be charged,” he said.
The incident happened as Clearwater was packed with tourists celebrating Spring Break.
“We’re not exactly sure what her state of mind was during the theft or the time afterward, but it’s quite unique,” Shaw said. “I’m not aware of any prior issues with people walking off with $5,500 wrestling shoes.”
An investigation is ongoing.
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