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Alleged thief gets stuck in ceiling of store

May 30, 2013 at 4:16 PM   |   Comments

CHELSEA, Mass., May 30 (UPI) -- Authorities in Massachusetts said they arrested a suspected shoplifter who became stuck when she attempted to flee a grocery store by climbing into the ceiling.

Workers at the Market Basket store in Chelsea said Laura Balm, 26, was spotted hiding items in her bag and fled into a manager's office when she was confronted, WHDH-TV, Boston, reported Thursday.

Balm allegedly threatened the manager with a knife and climbed up into the store's ceiling when she was disarmed.

"I saw a hole where she crawled up. It looked like a little rat chewed through the wall," worker Anthony LaFauci said.

However, Balm's getaway was short-lived when she became stuck inside the ceiling and had to be freed by firefighters.

"She had traveled throughout the whole structure just trying get away. She finally ended up stuck in basically a wall," Chelsea Fire Department Capt. Ed Buckley said. "We had a very hard time. We had to throw ladders throughout the building and go up with flashlights to try to locate her."

Police said Balm was arrested on charges including shoplifting and assault with a deadly weapon.

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