Indiana burglary suspect gets stuck in duct, has to be cut out

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ORANGE COUNTY, Ind. (Oct. 12, 2014) — It wasn’t just an arrest, but a rescue. Police caught two suspected burglars Saturday evening and they may have saved the life of one of them.

A deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department was patrolling County Road 250 East in Paoli around 5 p.m., when he just happened to see a burglary in progress. The deputy arrested Angel Sue Smith, 35, Mitchell, right away. Another man–Mark Mark Lee VanDyke, 47, Mitchell–was also with her and had barricaded himself inside a crawlspace at the home.

Trooper Robert Lambert was off duty, but he responded to the scene with his K-9, Diesel. Police made numerous attempts to get VanDyke to come out, communicating with him through the public address system in their police cars. When they couldn’t get him to come out, the officers finally sent Diesel into the house.

The K-9 found VanDyke hiding inside air conditioning duct work and bit him. VanDyke agreed to come out, but now he was stuck in the crawlspace and couldn’t get out. It took nearly an hour for Lambert and Orange County deputies to free him. They pulled about 30 feet of the duct from the crawlspace and then cut away the duct to remove VanDyke.

Officers believe that VanDyke could have died in that crawlspace if Diesel hadn’t found him. He was in a near hypothermic state because of the wet and cold conditions inside the duct.

VanDyke was taken to IU Health, and after being medically cleared, booked into the Orange County Jail. Smith was also taken to jail.

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