MILWAUKEE -- Police openly admit they file this story in the “dumb criminals” category.
Investigators maintain Shane Ray, 19, a teen with a criminal record, scaled the wall of a local animal hospital in an attempted break-in.
It didn’t work. The teen accidentally lodged his naked body in the hospital’s ductwork.
“It wasn't a cat in the ventilation shaft. It was a cat burglar,” said Captain Aaron Raap of the Milwaukee Police Department.
Investigators believe Ray tried to squeeze his way inside the Small Animal Hospital on Newhall Street.
Police say Ray removed his clothes so they wouldn't get snagged in the process.
"He was looking to obtain some prescription medication to support a drug habit that he has," Raap explained.
Police maintain Ray climbed onto the roof of the building and chopped a hole in the ductwork.
While inside, a wrong turn sent the teen tumbling down a large tube and crashing into an air recycling unit.
"There he remained—in a presumably defenseless position—for approximately 10 to 11 hours," Raap said.
The next morning, workers at the hospital heard endless screaming.
"One of the girls was in the restroom, and she said it sounded like he was in the same room with her. So that's when they figured out it was in our heating system," said Barbara Clingman, the facilities manager.
Firefighters freed ray from his stainless steel prison. Police gave him something to wear and brought him to jail. He will soon be charged with a felony in connection with the botched break-in.
Staffers at the animal hospital say they’re thankful Ray didn’t get his hands on any medications, which could have killed the teen.
Police say Ray caused $5,000 damage to the ductwork at the animal hospital.