The Mount Airy Police Department has revealed the identity of the mysterious Buffet Burglar, the man who got stuck in a ventilation duct Tuesday at the Golden Corral restaurant on Rockford Street.
Charlie Edward Walker, 59, of Mount Airy, was arrested around 4 p.m. on Tuesday after being released from Northern Hospital of Surry County, where he had been transported by Emergency Medical Services after being freed from the vent by the combined efforts of EMS, the Mount Airy Police Department, Mount Airy Fire Department and Mount Airy Rescue Squad.
Walker was charged with felony breaking and entering, possession of burglary tools and damage to property. Walker was placed under a $10,000 unsecured bond after he reported that he needed additional medical care. Walker was transported back to Northern Hospital for treatment, according to Capt. Alan Freeman of the police department
Freeman stated that no further information will be released at this time.
The ill-fated alleged breaking and entering was discovered Tuesday when restaurant employees noticed that the exhaust fan was not functioning properly. According to John Shelton, Surry emergency services director, the fan was not pulling smoke out of the kitchen as it should, but was causing it to back up in the kitchen, suggesting a blockage.
That blockage ultimately turned out to be Walker.
Freeing Walker took less than 20 minutes, with the combined resources of the four agencies, who brought him out with ladder access to the roof, according to Shelton.
“If we hadn’t found him, he’d probably be dead,” said Shelton on Tuesday.
Later in the day, when commenting on how unusual the situation was, Shelton said, “It’s about a 9 or a 10,” (on a scale of 1 to 10). He also said this is not the first time someone has been trapped in a ventilation system in Mount Airy.
“It’s happened here before, but it was a long time ago.”
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.