But surveillance footage from above the cash register revealed something far more shocking: The "burglars" had apparently paid for their "stolen" items in full.
The four men who entered the store Sunday night were apparently under the impression that the store was still open.
It seems the lock on the door had malfunctioned, and the lights were still on. Also, the stores on either side of Buddy's were open for business.
They picked up a number of items and headed towards the counter, but after failing to find a clerk, the four decided to complete the transaction themselves and leave.
Owner Marci Lederman said she was "thrilled" by the men's honesty, and asked them to come forward so she could thank them.
And so they did: A few days later, four William Paterson University football players identified themselves as the "good guy burglars."
According to one of the guys, Jelani Bruce, the teammates were in search of some items for their dorm room, and were in a rush.
"We had to get to practice, because we were running a little late," Bruce told NJ.com. "So we decided to put the money on the counter instead of stealing it, because that's just not right."
After returning to the store at Lederman's request, the four were rewarded for their good behavior with $50 each to spend on dorm stuff.
[videos via Buddy's Small Lots, The Today Show]