Funny, Funny Stories From my days at Eden, P.D.
By Michael D. Martin, E.C.P.D. Retired
About the author...Michael Martin (pictured front row, far right in the 1981 photo) is a retired veteran of 25 years on the Eden City Police Department, and has penned a number of anecdotal writings recalling his experiences.
XXXVI. The Dumbest Crook in EdenThis happened in the early seventies. I was a Detective Sergeant with Eden, PD.
There was a little wizard in Eden, a petty thief and a glue head who decided to break in to Price's Market on Morgan Road and steal the supply of airplane glue. He did not want to be caught so he crawled onto the roof and went to the chimney. Now the chimney was a hold-over from the early days, probably when Mr. W. N. Cook built the store, He heated it with a coal stove, and there was a chimney which had not been used in forty years. Now I do not know about your life's experiences, but I cannot remember the last time I actually saw an open fireplace in a Winn-Dixie or Food Lion store.
Our wizard decided to drop down the chimney and burglarize the store, and he did drop down the chimney. Now, as a young boy, I worked with my dad helping him to build houses and I know that even the finest brick mason smooths the outside of a chimney to give a finished look, but in the interest of speed, no mason smooths the inside and there is concrete jutting out from the inside seams. dropping down twenty feet in the inside of a chimney would have been kinda like being on the inside of a fish scaler.
Once our boy hit the bottom, there was no fireplace, there was only a six inch thimble that had been covered for forty years and his arms were forced straight up over his head with no place to move. There was another problem....at the bottom of the shaft, there was no air circulating and every breath he took..was one less breath he had.
Early the next morning, Mr. Sterling Price walked across the street to open his grocery store. Once inside, he heard a faint voice...please help me...god! please help me. Mr. Price checked everywhere and found no one inside his store but kept hearing the voice...help...help.
Mr. Price checked his cabinets and frozen meat lockers and storage area and decided to call the Eden Police. Responding patrol officers finally located the voice as coming from behind a small metal plate on the wall (it was called a thimble) and removed the thimble to see our wizard caught fast in the chimney. With this action, the oxygen problem was solved but none of the officers had any idea how to get him out of the chimney.
Finally, Fireman Gary Whitt brought a ladder truck from across the street at Spray Station and extended the ladders up over the chimney and after some trouble, finally got a rope to the would-be burglar and hoisted him out of the chimney and onto the roof.. Unfortunately, as much hide as he left going down the shaft, he lost a like amount coming out and when he was rescued, he looked like someone had skinned a chimpanzee.
We all went to court and listened to a judge in district court.....whom I will not name...declare that there was no law against climbing down a chimney and turned the lad loose. The Eden Officers in the courtroom that day were confused as to who was the bigger fool.
Michael D. Martin
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