News and Tribune

October 16, 2012

Police: Man breaks in business, gets trapped

After entering Jeffersonville business, Clarksville man had no option but to wait for police


JEFFERSONVILLE — A Clarksville man trapped himself inside of Gold’s Jewelry, Coins and Currency after apparently attempting to burglarize the Spring Street business Monday night.

Ralph T. Beaver, 43, of 212 S. Clark Blvd., entered the business through an air vent on the roof, and once inside the building he could not reach his escape route in the ceiling, police said.

Jeffersonville Police Department responded to the scene shortly before 9 p.m. and saw Beaver inside the business. Detective Todd Hollis with JPD said a metal gate prevented police from entering and Beaver from exiting.

Officers had to wait until a key-holder to arrive to open the front gate. Hollis said police would intermittently lose sight of Beaver when he walked to a storage area in the rear of business.

Police were able to communicate with Beaver by calling the business’ telephone. Hollis said police negotiated with Beaver to surrender himself and walk out the front door of the store.

Police were told that firearms were kept in the store by the business owner for protection.

Not knowing if Beaver was armed, Hollis said it was safer to have Beaver surrender himself instead of officers entering the business.

“The best option was not going into an unknown, but having him come out to a known,” Hollis said.

The department’s SWAT team was activated, Hollis said, but were kept on alert status only during the incident.

Hollis said Beaver was arrested and preliminarily charged with one count of burglary, a class C felony.

Rick Wright, owner of Gold’s Jewelry, said Beaver had come into the store about 2:30 p.m. earlier in the day, but did not make a purchase. Wright also said he had video footage of Beaver falling from the ceiling to the floor of the store.

“It looked like he hurt himself,” Wright said.

The business owner said Beaver had ripped off a vent plate located on the building roof, which was replaced only months ago. He said Beaver triggered about three alarms as he made his way into the store.

“He was popping and snapping them [the alarms] as he was coming through,” Wright said, adding that once inside Beaver could hear the alarms going off. “He got himself trapped very bad.”

Beaver also faces class B felony charges for allegedly robbing Centerstone counseling service in early September. He posted a $15,000 court-cash bond Sept. 18, but a petition to revoke bond was filed Tuesday.