A Winnipeg cake store had a cupcake-shaped sign disappear — only to see it pop up on Instagram, along with a photo of the thief and the caption "YOLO" or "you only live once."

Pamela Kirkpatrick owns Cake-ology on Arthur Street and recently noticed her sign was missing. After getting an anonymous tip on Tuesday, she found photos online of a young woman holding the sign and laughing.

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Pamela Kirkpatrick checks her Twitter and Instagram account after her cupcake sign was returned Tuesday afternoon. (Meagan Fiddler/CBC)

The caption read, "Last night tho stole a cupcake sign YOLO lmfao." So Kirkpatrick took to her own Instagram and Twitter account and reposted the photo and a few others.

"Apparently theft falls under the YOLO attitude of idiots in our city," she quipped. "I have no problem publicly shaming you. Thanks to An anonymous tip for sending this my way. #idiots"

The Internet responded quickly, with commenters shaming the original poster and demanding she return the sign. Others, though, said it was a harmless prank and it wasn't fair to attack the girl in the photo.

Kirkpatrick left her own comment on the woman’s Instagram account, saying, "Super fun, hey?! Bring that sign back and i won’t press charges. You have 24 hours."

She said the woman, a friend and someone who appeared to be her mother showed up at her shop Tuesday evening to return the sign. She said the woman apologized and seemed embarrassed.

Before her sign was returned, Kirkpatrick said she received two offers from professional signmakers to replace the sign, and she was surprised with the public outcry.

"People were retweeting it, and the next thing you know we were  trending this afternoon, which is pretty silly, but people got pretty passionate about it," she said.

Kirkpatrick said the sign wasn't worth much, but it's the principle that counts.

"It's a homemade sign. It's worth probably $20 of material, but people stepped up saying, 'That's not appropriate behavior. That's not funny,'" she said.

She said the woman who took it told her she was just trying to have a little fun.