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April 7, 2011

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Meat vendor has tender heart for thief

MEAT vendor Lu Chuanjiang was astonished when a surveillance video showed a 70-year-old man walking off with a 13-kilogram bag of pork ribs from his store.

But instead of seeking retribution, Lu, 42, is now offering a 200 yuan (US$30.52) reward to anyone who helps him find the man, so he can help the "old thief."

"The ribs were in one huge piece and I don't believe the old man could handle cutting them by himself without a butcher's knife," said Lu. "I want to help so that he doesn't hurt himself when separating the ribs."

On Sunday, a bag of pork ribs worth 300 yuan disappeared from Lu's store at Yongchang Market on Huachi Road, Putuo District.

Lu told Shanghai Daily he was angry at first, but now he feels sorry for the "poor old man who had to steal things in order to survive."

According to Lu, he put the bag of ribs in a corner at his store while waiting for a delivery vehicle to pick them up and take them to a restaurant. When the vehicle arrived, the ribs were gone.

The market's management team showed Lu a surveillance tape in which an old man, who couldn't even stand straight, walked very slowly into his store.

In the three-minute video, the old man stood in front of the bag of ribs for a few seconds and then walked around three nearby stores to see whether the bag was guarded.

He returned to the bag and checked what was inside. The man then left and returned a final time, picking up the ribs without any difficulty and walking out of the market.

Lu said he decided not to call police after seeing the tape, and now is offering the reward to anyone who helps him find the man.

Since 2004, the meat vendor has offered free ribs to an 84-year-old man who lives alone in a nearby complex and he believed he could do the same to make life easier for the "old thief."


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