SEATTLE (Reuters) - A Seattle burglary suspect who tried to evade capture by crawling inside an apartment building’s ventilation ducts got stuck and had to be rescued by authorities, police said on Wednesday.
Residents in a downtown Seattle apartment building called police on Monday evening to report hearing what sounded like a person “destroying washing machines” with a pry bar in a laundry room, the Seattle Police Department said in a statement.
The suspect, who police said had dozens of $1 bills and $22.65 in change on him, likely taken from vending and washing machines, hid behind the appliances as residents came in to do laundry and then moved a vending machine to block the entrance to the room.
He then burrowed out of the communal laundry room through a wall and into an adjacent storage area. Following the trail, police entered the storage room but found only blood and broken glass and a small opening that led to air ducts, the statement said.
“Officers made their way to the basement, where they could hear someone struggling inside the duct work. The burglar told police he was stuck, and could not move because of the pain — and that he needed something to drink.”
It took Seattle firefighters 20 minutes to free the man, who suffered cuts to his hands and face. He was taken into custody, was being treated at a hospital and will be booked on felony burglary and drug possession charges.
The man eventually admitted to drug use, telling police he had never been so high.
When police asked why he tunneled through the wall, they said he replied: “To complete my mission.”
Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Peter Cooney