Milwaukee man tries to steal drugs from animal hospital, gets stuck in duct

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POSTED: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 11:00pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 11:04pm

Milwaukee police arrested a 19-year-old man who was apparently trying to steal prescription drugs from the Small Animal Hospital on the city's east side on Sunday, September 15. Officers were able to locate him because he got stuck in one of the building's air conditioning ducts.

Police have labeled this case a "stupid criminal story" — and it begins with the man on the roof, sawing into the ventilation system.

"Stripped down, bare naked and squeeze into the ventilation shaft with a hammer and a flashlight, presumably one in each hand," said Capt. Aaron Raap.

The suspect told police he was looking for drugs, presumably painkillers and sedatives used to treat sick animals. What he found was a hole.

"This 19-year-old suspect then crawled one direction, assuming that he could get down and into the building, was met with resistance in the form of the shaft narrowing. Turned around, somehow missed his entry hole, and slid all the way down the shaft to the ground level located behind the building," said Capt. Raap.

There the suspect stayed for 11 hours — stuck in the heating and cooling system. It wasn't until the next morning that hospital staff heard the man shouting inside the duct.

The suspect, identified by police as Shane Rae, was not hurt in this incident. He is being charged with attempted burglary.

Officials with the animal hospital estimate there was about $5,000 in damage done to the building and ductwork.

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