A Winnipeg business owner says either he's been scammed or there's a woman in serious need of help, following an incident — captured on video — in which she had what looked like a seizure, then got up and later took his store's Winnipeg Harvest donation can.
Andres Hernandez, who owns The UPS Store in Southdale, says the woman — clad in pyjamas and using a cane — entered his business just before 6 p.m. Friday, just before it was closing.
Surveillance video footage from the store show the woman shaking, dropping her cane and falling onto the ground. Two people are seen coming to her aid.
Hernandez said it appeared as though the woman had a seizure, and she told him it was an epileptic attack, but he added that she was back on her feet within a minute.
"She was a little bit funny in the beginning, and then she just [stood] up again and was OK. She was apologizing," he told CBC News.
"Do we need to call somebody, 911? [She said,] 'No, no, no, I am OK. So sorry to do this.' And then, 'Do you know what? I don't want to bother you. I'm feeling better. Thank you.' And then she walked away from the store."
Then on Monday, Hernandez discovered his donation can, which he estimates had $40 inside, was missing.
The surveillance video shows the same woman standing by the counter, picking up the can, putting her cane down, then depositing the can in her bag before taking the cane and walking away.
'It's not real'
Seeing the store video had Hernandez wondering if the woman had faked her seizure.
"I don't think that was real because usually when that happens, you cannot move for a while. You have no control of your muscles," he said.
"Now that I am thinking about it, she faked it. I mean, it's not real."
Hernandez said he's concerned that the woman may be in desperate need of help. At the same time, he wants to warn other businesses if the whole incident was a scam.
"We're concerned about the lady. We don't know if she needs assistance," he said.
"But the other part is if nothing's really serious and she's just faking this, we don't want that she takes advantage of other people."
Hernandez said the woman appears to be in her mid-to-late 20s and is very thin, with very short brown hair and brown eyes.
He said he had not filed a formal complaint with Winnipeg police as of late Monday afternoon, as his store has almost the same hours as the closest station and he could not leave.