Lexington police routinely arrest burglary suspects who break into businesses through the ceiling. Usually a would-be burglar waits until the store is closed.
Police said that wasn't the case at the Eastland Shopping Center, where employees at Roses department store heard someone shuffling around above the drop-tile ceiling just after lunchtime Wednesday.
After officers searched for about a half-hour, Paul Masters, 47, fell through the ceiling and wrestled with officers waiting in the store below, police said. After a brief hospital visit, Masters was charged with first-degree burglary and fleeing or evading police.
"This is very uncommon for something like this to occur at 1 o'clock in the afternoon," Lexington police Lt. Sam Murdock said. "This is typically the type of crime we would see usually in the early-morning hours when businesses are closed and there are not a lot of pedestrians or patrons present."
Police aren't sure why Masters was in the ceiling. He told police "he was retrieving money for a friend," Murdock said. However, police did not find any money in the attic where Masters was accused of milling around. They did find a hat, gloves and a pry bar, Murdock said.
Roses employees called police about 1 p.m. Officers who responded noticed several ceiling tiles displaced.
Police say they think Masters got into the attic, which was barely tall enough to stand up in, by climbing through the ceiling in the bathroom.
Cops on ladders began poking their heads into the ceiling to look for the man. They spotted him near the front of the store, Murdock said.
Masters tried to run away from the officers but lost his footing on one of the joists and fell through the ceiling tile, Murdock said. Despite being injured from falling about 12 feet, he fought with officers, injuring one, before he was shocked with a Taser and subdued, he said.
Masters' face was covered with cuts and scrapes when he was loaded onto a stretcher and taken to the hospital to be checked out.
Roses was closed to everyone but police and employees Wednesday afternoon while police searched for clues. It was reopened later in the day.
Larry Jordan, district manager for Roses, said it was the chain store's policy not to comment on police matters.
Masters was lodged in the Fayette County Detention Center.