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Man found trapped in city tavern vent

November 05, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

Dead End Tavern owner Keith Martin said the establishment has been broken into four times in the past eight years, but Monday's incident was the first time a man got stuck in the wall of his bar.

"Once somebody threw a tire through the window, another time they went through the air conditioner," Martin said. "And now twice they've tried to come through that vent."

On Monday morning at around 4 a.m., a man was found hanging out of the back of the tavern at 881 Virginia Ave., wedged in the wall where the exhaust fan vent was mounted, facing out.

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Hagerstown City Police said the man - a Hagerstown resident in his late 30s - was conscious, but unable to talk when they found him. As officers tried to dislodge the man, he stopped breathing.

The man was resuscitated and taken to Washington County Hospital where he was listed in serious condition Monday night.

A person heard someone call for help at about 3:15 a.m. Monday, then found the man stuck at about 4 a.m., police said.

Martin said the opening is about 18 inches by 18 inches and is covered in louvers. After the previous attempt to break in through that vent, Martin said he installed some angle iron to further deter would-be thieves.

"He was apparently determined to get in," Martin said. "I think he used a piece of metal to bend the angle iron."

The man apparently got inside, because Martin's audible motion alarm was tripped. Martin said he thinks that scared the intruder into attempting to hurriedly leave the tavern the way he came in, and that's when he got stuck.

"Nothing was disturbed inside the tavern," Martin said.

The opening is about 8 feet off the ground outside the tavern and about 7 feet from the floor inside.

Police did not release the man's name because he had not been charged with a crime.

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