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Stupid Case File for February 19, 2006

Circuit City Roof Traps Man

Courtesy of PJStar

Joseph Guyton was either the city's dumbest criminal or its most unlucky Wednesday evening, when a comedy of errors left him stuck - literally - on the roof of Circuit City while trying to outsmart police.

What Guyton received for his efforts were numb, frozen fingers and toes, a trip to jail on a boatload of charges and a near guarantee he'll be the butt of many jokes to come.

His troubles began at Northwoods Mall, where he got caught with a backpack full of stolen clothing. What followed, police say, was a foot chase across busy Sterling Avenue, a homeowner surprised at knifepoint for his vehicle, and Guyton climbing atop a Dumpster and onto the store roof to avoid capture.

Up there, he hid in an air conditioning vent but ended up outsmarting himself when his foot became lodged inside between the wall and some gridwork Rebar. Guyton then had no choice but to watch as police he'd tried to avoid worked to free him. He also apparently forgot about the bag of cocaine police said they found on him.

"The only thing I heard him say is, 'Ow,' and, 'My leg's stuck,'" Peoria Police Capt. Mike Scally said.

It took police and firefighters armed with power tools nearly an hour to cut Guyton loose. On the ground, awaiting his arrival, were a Fire Department aerial-ladder truck, an ambulance, a crowd of bemused police, fire and rescue personnel, and reporters with cameras rolling.

Many couldn't keep a straight face as Guyton finally was escorted in handcuffs into the ladder bucket and brought down.

He was taken to the hospital for observation and later booked into the Peoria County Jail on charges of home invasion, vehicular hijacking, possessing a controlled substance, felony retail theft, felony criminal damage to property, aggravated assault and resisting arrest. He also had been wanted on a Peoria County theft warrant.

One of those onlookers was a coatless Aaron McBride, who works in security for Sears. "I'm sorta the reason this all happened, unfortunately," he said.

It was just after 4 p.m. when McBride saw a man, later identified as Guyton, shoplifting a pair of boots and some other clothing from the store. He followed the man outside, identified himself and asked for the stolen items.

That's when Guyton took off, running across Sterling and into a neighborhood that includes Westlake Lane. There, he brandished a knife at McBride and disappeared into a home. McBride then called police.

Inside the house, Guyton allegedly threatened the homeowner with the knife, demanding he hand over his van keys. He went back outside, put the stolen goods in the back seat and walked to the driver's side. But McBride opened the back door and snatched back the stolen goods. Guyton then ran off.

"I'm not a rocket scientist, but I took all the stuff out," McBride said. "The old man who lives there came out and was freaking out. He said, 'He came in my house and pulled a knife.' That's when I thought, 'This cat is a bad apple. He's really bad.' "

Police caught up with him in the lot behind Circuit City, but Guyton climbed up on the store roof with officers in pursuit.

During the incident, store employees huddled to discuss the "man stuck in the duct." Others were explaining the situation to customers, who laughed and shook their heads in disbelief.

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