Secret ceiling-dweller arrested for burglary after being rescued from restaurant wall, police say

DENVER - A man secretly living in the rafters above a Denver restaurant fell through the ceiling and got trapped in the wall space Tuesday night, police said. He was later arrested for burglary.

At about 11 p.m., the Denver Police Department got a call reporting that a man had fallen through the ceiling at the Yard House, at 1555 Court Street in downtown.

When firefighters arrived at the Yard House, they saw a man walking through the space for the water pipes and HVAC system, according to James Ballinger with the Denver Police Department.

The man disappeared from their view and somehow broke one of the water pipes - causing massive flooding at the Yard House and the Sheraton Hotel next door, Ballinger said.

Police officers checked through the ceilings and couldn't find the man, but said it appeared that he had been staying up there for a while, Ballinger told 7NEWS. There were multiple bottle caps from alcoholic beverages in the area.

Then officers heard a strange sound.

"There was moaning coming from one of the walls to the right of the front doors," Ballinger said. When crews removed one of the booth's seats, they could see the man's feet behind the wall.

Fire crews used a chainsaw to cut the man out of the wall.

The man was only wearing jeans and was transported to Denver Health with unknown injuries, Ballinger said. He fell about 20 feet, according to 7NEWS Reporter Eric Lupher.

There is significant water damage to the restaurant and the lobby of the Sheraton Hotel. Part of the hotel's lobby was cordoned off for cleanup, but the hotel remained open and the Yard House was open for lunch Wednesday.

Police later arrested the ceiling-dweller for burglary.


Anica Padilla is a digital producer for Scripps and 7NEWS. Follow her on twitter at @AnicaPadilla.

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