By Paul Tennant
---- — NORTH ANDOVER — A man broke into a Richdale Convenience Store by smashing the front door early yesterday morning, then climbed up into the drop ceiling in a vain attempt to avoid capture, police said.
The burglar alarm at the 75 Chickering Road store sounded at 12:49 a.m. and Officers William Brush, Michael Reardon and Joseph Kamal as well as Detective Sean Daley responded. Finding footprints in the snow, officers called in a canine unit, then inspected the store, according to Lt. Charles Gray, spokesman for the North Andover Police Department.
They found an unconscious man inside the drop ceiling. Because he was in the midst of numerous electrical wires, police asked National Grid to shut off the power because they were concerned the man might have been electrocuted, Gray said.
Police officers, paramedics and firefighters then brought the man down from the ceiling. They determined he was not injured, but transported him to Lawrence General Hospital as a precaution, Gray said.
Justin Roeger, 26, of 57 Chickering Road, was arrested and charged with breaking and entering in the nighttime, malicious damage to property and larceny of lottery tickets. He was arraigned in Lawrence District Court yesterday, where he was ordered held in lieu of $5,000 cash bail.