Man hides in storm drain for hours after attempted mall larceny

10:39 AM, Jun 18, 2012   |    comments
Justin Peckham (Photo Credit: Barnstable Police)
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BARNSTABLE (CBS) - A man was arrested after he was seen exiting a storm drain hours after he allegedly tried to steal a big-screen TV from a Sears at the Cape Cod Mall in Barnstable on Saturday.

Justin Peckham, 20, was originally taken into custody by Sears loss prevention officers just before 6 p.m. after he was allegedly caught trying to load a 55-inch television into a vehicle outside the store.

When Peckham learned Barnstable police were responding, he fled from the Sears security office and jumped into the vehicle outside, where he asked the driver to take off from the scene.

The driver refused to leave, so Peckham jumped out and took off on foot, leaving behind his 2-year-old son, who was still in the vehicle.

Officers chased after Peckham, who jumped over a "storm water pond" fence and was heard splashing into water. Their initial search for him failed.

Then, at 9:30 p.m., nearly four hours after the alleged robbery attempt, Peckham was seen exiting a storm drain near the Macy's at the Cape Cod Mall. He was arrested soon after.

Peckham was armed with a "fist-sized" rock and told police he had the rock in case he encountered any rodents in the storm drain. While he did not find any live rodents, he told police he crawled over around six dead ones.

In the end, Peckham crawled more than a couple hundred yards over nearly four hours in the storm drain.

Police likened the attempted escape to movie characters like John Rambo from "First Blood" and Andy Dufresne from "Shawshank Redemption."

Peckham will be arraigned on larceny charges on Monday. Officers filed a report with the Department of Children and Family because Peckham left his 2-year-old behind at the store.

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