‘Hang tight!” John Rodriguez told a man who apparently tried to break into his store overnight. “The police are on their way!”
Rodriguez could afford to be flippant, because the man’s head was stuck between a metal door and a concrete loading dock floor, held there by several hundred pounds of pressure.
When Rodriguez, the assistant store manager, came to work at the Rent-A-Center store on Crescent Street and went out back to open the loading-bay doors, at about 8:45 a.m. on Tuesday, he found a man with his head stuck under the heavy metal door in the rear of the store.
“I happened to walk in and he was there,” Rodriguez said. “I saw that little head sticking out.”
Rodriguez took out his cell phone and began filming, asking why the man, Manuel Fernandes, 53, was trying to break into his store.
On the video, the Fernandes claims he was just “trying to fix the door,” then claims he confused Rent-A-Center with another address, then finally pleads with Rodriguez to let him go, saying that he hasn’t taken anything.
The man said he had been under the door since midnight.
“I wanted to talk to him, to ask him questions to make sure he was coherent,” Rodriguez said, noting he didn’t know if the man was seriously injured.
Brockton police responded to the scene at about 9 a.m. and pulled the would-be burglar out of the door, said officer Stan David.
Pieces of metal from a bed frame had been used to partially lift the door, but it wasn’t high enough and the man got stuck.
Fernandes had a large bruise on the back of his head from the pressure of the door and was sent to the hospital to be checked, David said.
Brockton police spokesman Lt. Paul Bonanca said he couldn’t remember any recent incidents where a burglar was similarly trapped inside a home or business.
“That’s pretty unique,” he said.
Police plan to issue a summons charging him with breaking and entering and malicious damage to property.
“I’ve never seen anything like that,” said Rodriguez.