Suspected robber dies stuck in roof of Jacksonville sandwich shop

December 16th, 2009 by

www.jacksonville.com – A 911 call Monday night directing Jacksonville police to a shopping center on the Northside is being analyzed in the death of a suspected burglar found jammed into a restaurant cooking vent.
The caller reported someone was screaming for help. When police responded to the shopping center, they found a couple arguing.
“They thought that’s what the call was about,” homicide Sgt. Scott Dingee of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.
When employees of Shane’s Sandwich Shop in the 400 block of Busch Drive arrived at the business about 6 a.m., they found the dead man stuck above the fryer vats.
Police have not released the man’s name. They don’t think he had an accomplice.
“We don’t know if he was up there at that time,” Dingee said. “Obviously we’ll be looking into that.”
Police did not release a copy of the 911 recording. The dead man was not carrying a cell phone. The call was made about 10 p.m.
Operators of the sandwich shop do not think they knew the man, said Beth Korey, whose son Stephen Blaylock owns the restaurant, which has been on Busch Drive for 17 years. She said some of the man’s clothes were found on the floor.
Korey said she expected the restaurant to reopen today. She said damage was done mostly to a fire suppression system.
By 9:30 a.m. rescue workers with the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department had used a noose tied around the man’s wrists to tug him loose. Department spokesman Tom Francis said firefighters had to push from below to help dislodge the body.
Dingee said the suspected burglar apparently died of asphyxiation. He said the overhead vent was roughly 10 feet long and 36 inches or less in width. His feet were dangling above the fryer vats where he had kicked holes in some filters.
Dingee said a roof cap on the vent was removed and it looked as if the would-be burglar got on the roof by climbing a drain pipe. He said police did not believe the man made it inside the restaurant.


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