Australia Today

A Burglar Called the Cops on Himself After Getting Stuck in a Chimney

The bad Santa was in the process of breaking in to a pharmacy when disaster struck.

by Gavin Butler
Dec 5 2018, 5:51am

Image via Flickr user Random Retail, CC licence 2.0 (L); Flickr user Rob Klein, CC licence 2.0 (R)

This article originally appeared on VICE Australia.

A would-be drug thief was forced to call emergency services after getting stuck in the chimney of a pharmacy he was allegedly trying to rob. The 22-year-old anti-Santa was prowling around on the roof of the dispensary in Lancefield, Victoria, about 70 kilometers [43 miles] north of Melbourne on Monday night when his evening took a tragic turn. Whether by way of climbing or falling, he ended up going down the chimney chute and had to call for emergency services to come and get him.

Police first attended the pharmacy at about 10:30 PM on Monday when an alarm was triggered at the shop, Fairfax reports, but left shortly thereafter. Before long, they were called back to the scene to retrieve a man who was trapped at the premises. It’s alleged that he attempted to break into the pharmacy by scaling down through the small chimney cavity, and he subsequently became stuck.

"He waited for the police and while he waited, the fire brigade and ambulances came and he thought I can call them... to rescue me because I'm stuck," one of the pharmacists told Nine News. "The police asked him what he was doing and he said he was taking photos from the roof—but he didn't bring his camera."

The alleged burglar reportedly left a balaclava ski mask and a backpack behind at the scene. He was assessed for minor injuries before being taken back to a police station for interviewing.

“He (was) covered head-to-toe in soot. He looked like a 1700s chimney sweep from the UK,” said store owner Greg Gibson. “The ambulance worker said to him, ‘Dude, are you practicing to be Santa?'”

The man was ultimately charged with burglary, and was bailed to appear at the Kyneton Magistrates’ Court on February 4. But he probably got off lucky. In 2015, VICE penned a brief history of people getting stuck in chimneys and dying. One such case a few years ago saw an attempted burglar getting lodged in a chimney and dying a torturous death when the homeowner unwittingly lit a fire beneath him.

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