Suspected thief hides in grocery store ceiling
CHELSEA, Mass. (WHDH) -- Workers confronted a would-be thief inside a Chelsea grocery store. When she took off she ended up in the store's ceiling.
Store employees said they saw 26-year-old Laura Balm of Bedford putting items in her bag and trying to hide it underneath a shopping cart. When Balm was confronted, she went to manager's office. She apparently pulled a knife on the manager. He managed to wrestle it away and that’s when she tried to escape through the roof.
“She looked like a spider woman,” said one witness.
Officers said that after being confronted by Market Basket employees who threatened to call police, the woman came up with an unconventional exit plan.
“I saw a hole where she crawled up. It looked like a little rat chewed through the wall,” said Anthony LaFauci, a Market Basket employee.
Those plans fell through when Balm got stuck and firefighters had to get her out.
“She had traveled throughout the whole structure just trying get away. She finally ended up stuck in basically a wall,” said Capt. Ed Buckley of the Chelsea Fire Department.
Finding her wasn't easy.
“We had a very hard time. We had to throw ladders throughout the building and go up with flashlights to try to locate her,” said Capt. Buckley.
Rescuers said that the suspended ceiling is held together by small steel cables and that she's lucky she didn't fall through - a wild sight for worker and customers.
Balm was eventually arrested. She faces a number of charges including shoplifting and assault with a deadly weapon.