DUNBAR TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – Pennsylvania State Police have arrested a man, accused of trying to break into a supermarket through the roof.
One of the owners of the Pechin Super Foods in Dunbar Township says the suspect, 48-year-old Thomas Jefferson Beal, never made it completely inside the store.
His feet never touched the floor of the store, but there were some scary moments for a security officer when she saw a pair of feet and a ladder dangling from the ceiling.
Most days, the only people inside the Pechin Super Foods Market in Dunbar Township at 3 a.m. are the bakers and a security officer. That wasn’t the case Tuesday morning, when a security officer called one of the owners of the store, Don D’Amico, to tell him someone else was trying to get into the store, from the roof.
D’Amico, recalling the security officer, said, “I see a foot, I see a foot…coming through the roof.”
D’Amico rushed to the store, as did Pennsylvania State Police after the guard called 911. Police said Beal somehow managed to get on the roof of the supermarket and then tried to get into the store through an air conditioning vent.
Trooper Stefani Lucas, Pennsylvania State Police public information officer at the Uniontown Barracks, said, “It appeared as though he had a rope type of ladder that he had taken with him to gain access to the building.”
State troopers surrounded the building. A couple of troopers went onto the roof to take Beal into custody. A local fire department had to get the troopers and Beal down. As he was being arrested, Beal told police he was just sleeping on the roof.
“When he was taken into custody, he basically indicated to the officers that he was just sleeping on the roof, that he wasn’t involved in any type of criminal activity,” Trooper Lucas said.
Customers at the store weren’t surprised to learn about the attempted break-in.
“It’s Dunbar,” laughed Donna McClintock.
“It doesn’t surprise me around here, to be quite honest,” said Linda Hughes, who lives in Garrett County, Maryland, but often shops at the store.
Jim Heffelfinger, of Garrett County added, “It sounds like it’s out of a movie, that’s pretty cool.”
Beal faces charges of burglary and criminal trespassing. He’s being held in the Fayette County Prison on $7,5000 bond.
He has a criminal record that dates back to 1997 for things like break-ins, assault and forgery.