Save the Muffin Lady!

Save the Muffin Lady! People from Chicago will already know what this means, but there’s a little old lady who bakes muffins with special, not-so-secret herbal ingredients and sells them at Wicker Park bars for $5. She recently got busted and there was a big article in the Reader about her. So the folks at Q101 and 1974 Inc (who make GLONO’s custom t-shirts, by the way) are selling t-shirts for $10 to raise money for her defense.


ozzy_burgled.jpgExcerpt from the Reader article:

[Muffin Lady, Shirley] Pena, 59, was having a fine night on Friday the 13th of August. Early in the evening she hit a postage-stamp bingo jackpot at Saint Helen’s, winning $500. She spent the next few hours shooting pool at Ten 56, on North Damen, and just after midnight went to deliver 98 muffins—a gift, she says—to a visiting Hollywood film crew she’d befriended in the previous weeks. Driving east on Iowa in her youngest daughter’s Suzuki Sidekick, she hung a right at Wolcott and a squad car lit up and curbed her. She says the patrolmen kept her standing by the car, haranguing her for about 90 minutes and calling her a cunt, among other things. One cop she recognized from a traffic stop years ago briefed his partner on her muffin MO, and they grilled her, she says, to give up her connections.

Pena swears she wasn’t arguing, but she’s a prickly old lady, and it’s easy to imagine her rubbing the boys the wrong way. Though she hasn’t had a valid driver’s license since 1995, she says she gave the cops her real name and was carrying a state ID. When they found another state ID in her purse—one with her picture beside her sister’s maiden name, Beverly Spahos—they read her her rights and called for backup. Pena tried to pass the fake ID off, claiming that she only used it to score free cigarettes from marketers. The cops told her Beverly Spahos had an outstanding larceny charge on her record, and that’s how they were going to book her. At the Wood Street station she was charged with running a stop sign, driving without insurance and with a suspended license, and with possession of $10,560 worth of marijuana—a felony. The police impounded the car, her cue sticks, and her bingo loot along with the muffins.

Pena was amazed—not just because she’d baked the muffins with only about an ounce in the batter, a misdemeanor’s worth, but because she’d thought she was operating under the benign neglect of the 13th District. “They’ve always known it,” she says. “I’ve sold my breads in many police stations and many bars. They’d say something like, ‘If you’ve got any banana-chocolate-chip bread I’ll take some of that, but none of that funny stuff because we have to take piss tests.'” Pena says she stopped selling her straight baked goods at police stations because she got tired of all the ribbing cops would give her about the muffins.

7 thoughts on “Save the Muffin Lady!”

  1. Exclusive interview with the Muffin Lady Wednesday at 2 and 9 pm on Mac and Slater. http://www.fearlessradio.com

    Save the Muffin Lady! People from Chicago will already know what this means, but there’s a little old lady who bakes muffins with special, not-so-secret herbal ingredients and sells them at Wicker Park bars for $5. She recently got busted and there was a big article in the Reader about her. So the good folks in this city are working to raise money for her defense. She’ll tell her story Tuesday and Wednesday on Mac and Slater.

    http://www.fearlessradio.com

  2. This is too funny for words! Shirley Pena is my wife’s aunt, but the only time I met her was 4 years ago when Shirley’s brother (my wife’s dad) passed away in Wisconsin. I remember her telling me that she was a baker, but she didn’t tell me she was baking “special” muffins! LOL Good luck Shirley!

    Rick Johnston

    Bakersfield, CA

  3. This is too funny for words! Shirley Pena is my wife’s aunt, but the only time I met her was 4 years ago when Shirley’s brother (my wife’s dad) passed away in Wisconsin. I remember her telling me that she was a baker, but she didn’t tell me she was baking “special” muffins! LOL Good luck Shirley!

    Rick Johnston

    Bakersfield, CA

  4. I meet shirley yesterday I am her nurse. She told me about her being busted but I did not know it was recent. I will inform her of everyone’s support.

  5. It’s a touching story on the surface but it should be clear to anyone who read the story in the Reader that this lady is at best seriously mentally ill and at worst a sociopathic con man.

  6. I had the unfortunate displeasure of being her roommate, I have never met anyone in my life so miserable as this lady is, she is verbally abusive toward anyone she doesn’t feel comes up to “her level.” Half the stuff she talked about honestly didn’t interest me. It was always the same line of conversation. He rule was my way or the highway and she thrust me into her personal entertainment I had to play cards with and watch tv with her or her comment was and I quote “If you don’t like it then you can get the fuck of my house” and while I was there I had the displeasure of listening to her and her son (Danny) who is now going to spend the next 25 years to life in prison, probably in Statesville for raping a woman who was residing in Shirley’s home on Fullerton Ave. Engage in their daily spats, arguments, and sparing sessions. It was truly drama personified.
    I would be lying if I didn’t say that I didn’t have the thought of throwing her out of her third story window just to watch her head bounce of the asphalt below. However I believe strongly that God kept me from harming that woman and provided a better place for me to go in the interim. Murdering her would have been selfish and foolish and I would have single handedly destroyed my life over a petty, shallow, and self absorbed person. The only reason I had to put up with her bullshit was because I had no where else to go.
    It was no surprise when I came across a story on another site of a woman who was physically abused at Shirley’s hand and this poor girl called her mom begging her to come and pick her up and bring her to Arizona. Well her mom sent her letter with a plane ticket enclosed, Shirley proceeded to open her letter which is tampering with the mail and is a felony. Then she ripped up her ticket and told her “You aren’t going anywhere, and you will never see your mother again!” She is a vile wicked woman and I hope God has mercy on her but she is mean and hateful and I am glad to be out of HER HOME!!!!!!!! Shirley I forgive you I will not allow you to dwell in heart, mind, and spirit anymore I wish you well. She also uses her age to get what she wants she told me if I ever raised my voice at her that she could have me locked up for elderly abuse. I told her I said Shirley that only applies to people who are your caregivers I am your roommate I pay you rent you leave me alone unless i violate some rule of yours, and with Shirley she was a master manipulator and would blow any and everything out of proportion. After 4 months I had about enough of Shirley and she had about enough of me.

    I hate to admit….but this is my moms sister. I dealt with her on a first hand basis. I was beat neglected abused in several ways by her when I was 11. I was forced to take care of my cousins. my cousin and I were forced to steal from dept stores in which we finally got busted for grand theft. Shirley would take me to the liquor store and buy 15 to 20 cases of beer in which we would take to the house and chill and I was forced to sell it for a buck a can during the “illegal poker parties”. I had to deal with Hispanic men groping on me and she didn’t care as long as she got her money. id be up till dawn till the kids got up and have to get them ready for school first then myself with no sleep. finally I got so exhausted at school I couldn’t go anymore. My mom called from home in Arizona and I begged her to let me to come home. I was badly beatin by Shirley on a continuous basis and couldn’t take it. Shortly after that (few days) Shirley walks in and says I got a letter from my mom and opens it in front of me. she said “oh look here…. a plane ticket for you to go back to Arizona!” I was ecstatic until she ripped it up in front of me and told me I wasn’t going anywhere and I would never see my mom again. it was so horrible because I knew she meant it. To make a long story short… with help from my step dad and the cook county sheriffs dept I was finally removed from her home and saved from this beast of a woman. I’m ashamed she’s my blood relative. she ruined my childhood. now thru therapy medication and love and patience from my family…..I will be fine 36 years later. and yes Shirley we all know how you are. Your a pathetic piece of shit and I feel sorry for your kids and grandkids. I’m also pretty mom appreciated u stealing her identity. very cool of u and my credit is ruined and if I find out u used my identity….u will pay. I won’t be as nice as my mom. u will go to prison and rot. true story ..not the end! Kim

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