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Three Boys Arrested After Hiding For Nine Days in Department Store

September 30, 1988

FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) _ Three runaways lived it up in the suspended ceiling of a department store, hauling food and electronic equipment up to their hideaway, until the manager finally found out why the burglar alarm had been ringing off and on for days.

Two of the youths, both 13, left home Sept. 19 and went to the Zayre store, where they climbed into the ceiling and hid until after closing hours, police said.

″When the store closed for the night, they started to set themselves up for a long stay,″ said Officer Richard Marzilli, who arrested the trio Wednesday.

During the nine days, the boys entertained themselves and ate food from the store.

On Monday, the two persuaded a third boy, 11, to join them after school.

Police said the boys took a steam heater, a clock, a VCR, 21 TV sets, one camera, nine pairs of sneakers, 89 cassette tapes, 34 videotapes, 20 battery packs, a cassette player, a backpack, 17 packs of gum, five sweatshirts, nine travel bags, two sleeping bags, a reading light and cheese crackers.

Marzilli said he was called to the store several times by the manager, James Fingles, who said that the burglar alarm kept going off at night.

But each time police and store personnel checked out the store, they were unable to find any point of forced entry.

On Wednesday morning, Fingles noticed an extension cord leading to a ceiling panel. He climbed into the suspended ceiling and followed the cord, crawling about 70 feet before coming across the youths.

The boys have each been charged with juvenile delinquency.

When Fingles discovered the boys, they were surrounded by store items.

Marzilli said the extension cord was plugged into a television set and a videocassette recorder ″for their entertainment after store hours.″

Their clothes allegedly were taken from the store.

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