Earlier this week, a lottery winner pulled up her stretch Hummer in front of a Burlington Coat Factory store near Columbus, Ohio. In an Oprah-esque share of largesse, she promised to buy every shopper in the store $500 worth of merchandise. But she turned out to be no fairy godmother. She wasn’t even a real lottery winner. When customers discovered the lie, they took their frustration out on the store, trashing it.
The woman asked customers to tell their friends and family about her offer and said she would stay until the store closed.
Store managers told 10TV News that she paid for roughly $5,000 in merchandise with a debit card before her card’s limit was reached.
The woman then announced to the store that she was returning to the bank to secure more cash but by 3 p.m., police announced that the shopping spree was over and turned the crowds away.
The store closed early so that workers could clean up. Some shoppers said they had carts filled with merchandise. When shoppers learned the merchandise would not be paid for, some customers trashed the store.
The woman’s family later came forward to explain that she suffers from mental illness, which triggered both the Burlington incident and some false 911 calls. The woman has not yet been charged with any crimes related to this incident.