A pair of trainers were stolen from a charity shop window display in Oban.
But some faith in humanity has been restored, said the manageress of Cancer Research UK in George Street, after a neighbouring business offered to pay for them.
Helen McKenzie wrote on Cancer Research Oban’s Facebook page: “To the person who stole the Adidas trainers out of our window. You must really have needed them more than the scientists need the money for research to save people’s lives. I truly hope they save your life and you feel good about what you did. Merry Xmas.”
She said the black and white EQT support trainers must have been taken sometime before 4pm on Sunday.
Ms McKenzie said: “They physically had to go under the Christmas tree to get to them which makes it even more shocking.”
The brand new trainers, handed in with a bag of donations, were being sold new for £149.99, she said.
She added: “It is heart-breaking that someone has put their trust in us with a donation. You want to make the most of that donation but you don’t want to go overboard. I could have got £50 for them but didn’t want to be greedy when everybody is struggling so put them on at £35. They were attracting a lot of attention.”
After Kim Miller and Fiona Fraser from Jewellery by Fiona Fraser across the road heard heard about the shoplifting incident, they offered to pay for the trainers.
The charity shop worker said: “I couldn’t accept because I feel that they shouldn’t have to pay for something that somebody else stole.
“It made me feel a bit better about the situation because it reminded me that some people do care.
“I have to say that nothing major ever walks out of our shop. This is the first time it has ever happened.
“I noticed they were missing on Monday morning.
“People are experiencing desperate times just now, they will do anything. Part of me is finding it hard to be angry at the thief because they must be desperate.
“But the other part of me thinks they have taken money from scientists who really need it for life-saving research.”
A police spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the incident and are looking into it.”