This burglar story may sound familiar; there have been various stories through the years of people getting stuck in chimneys — usually around the holiday season. Some “creative” individuals refuse to believe that this is a behavior best left to Santa. Yet, here we are again, with a less-than-creative burglar who paid the ultimate price for his chosen profession.
According to YourCentralValley, a burglar was discovered stuck in a chimney by a homeowner while the latter was attempting light a fireplace. The individual wasn’t in the residence when the would-be criminal shimmied down into their chimney. When the homeowner was starting the fire, he heard the culprit’s desperate cries for help.
After the fire was put out, the owner determined that some things in his home were “rummaged through,” which suggests the burglar had successfully broken into the home. It appears he got stuck in the chimney while attempting to make his escape.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) November 30, 2015
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office responded to the incident, which had officers scratching their head in amazement.
Jake Jensen told YourCentralValley, “I’ve been a deputy for 17 years now, and I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Officers recently released the name of the deceased burglar to the public. He was 19-year-old Cody Caldwell. It’s actually unknown how long Caldwell was in the chimney before being discovered. The owner of the house he broke into was away for an extended period. Fresno County officials believe the young man entered the chimney sometime during Friday evening. He wasn’t discovered until Saturday afternoon.
Although the homeowner was successful in putting out the fire, the act was still believed to have directly contributed to Cody’s demise. A coroner’s report determined the burglar died from a combination of smoke inhalation and thermal burns.
The homeowner and police don’t seem to agree as to whether or not the burglar was stuck before entering the home or after. Although the individual claimed that items were looked through, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office had this to say.
“A preliminary investigation shows that the suspect had climbed into the chimney overnight in an attempt to burglarize the home and became stuck. The homeowner came home today after being gone yesterday, so he did not know anyone was inside the chimney prior to lighting the fire.”
As mentioned before, despite the odd nature of this case, it’s by no means the first time a person has been stuck in a chimney — or died as a result.
In 2011, ABC News reported a rather morbid story about a skeleton that was discovered in a chimney during a renovation. The remains were identified as being Joseph Schexnider, a man who was previously missing for 27 years. Foul play wasn’t suspected, as the bones demonstrated no signs of trauma. As for how or why Schexnider went into the chimney, it will remain a mystery.
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) November 30, 2015
A would-be robber was busted breaking into a Florida home via the chimney in 2013. That man was fortunate enough to escape with his life. Once again, it was a burglar who was seemingly inspired by the “holiday season,” as it was an incident that occurred in November.
What people should know is that just because a jolly man in red is known for creeping down the chimney at Christmas doesn’t make this a good idea for a few reasons. First, and most obvious of all, chimneys aren’t built for people to simply climb in and out of whenever they feel like it. The only thing rising out of a chimney should be smoke. Second, if trapped in a chimney, there’s a chance you will die.
It’s not worth the risk.
[Image Via Fresno County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook]