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Man gets locked in laundromat

July 20, 1999

Gene Becker spent more time than he wanted to in a Hagerstown laundromat Tuesday evening, and not because it was crowded.

After the Ringgold man finished washing and drying his clothes at the D&P Coin-Op Laundry & Dry Cleaning on Summit Avenue a little before 9 p.m., he went into the men's room at the rear of the building.

While he was in the restroom, maintenance man William Crouse came, thought the laundry was empty, and locked up.

Trapped inside the building alone, Becker's first thought was to use the pay phone to call Hagerstown City Police but said he couldn't find the number in the phone book.

"I couldn't figure out what I was going to do," said Becker, who said he has been doing his wash at the laundromat for two years.

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Noticing his distress through the window, members of Antietam Fire Co. at nearby 113 Summit Ave. called police, who got in touch with Crouse.

The Antietam firefighters waited outside and reassured the man until the door was unlocked.

He was inside the building after closing time for about 20 minutes before help arrived.

The First Hagerstown Hose Co. arrived at the scene with a ladder truck but left shortly afterward.

Crouse said he regrets not looking in the men's room before locking up and said it won't happen again.

"I'll check it now," he said.

- Kimberly Yakowski

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