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Chimney foils attempted burglary of bank

GRANGER - An attempt to rob the Granger branch of U.S. Bank yesterday morning misfired, police said, when the alleged burglar got stuck in the bank's chimney.

"About 8:40 a.m. yesterday we received a call from dispatch that someone might be in the bank," recalled Granger Police Chief Robert Perales.

Upon arrival, Perales said the man's voice could be heard in the bank's ventilation system.

Police identified the would-be burglar as Sunnyside resident Jose Estrada, 25.

Perales said police read Estrada his rights while he was still stuck in the chimney. He was then pulled out by the Granger Fire Department.

Estrada tore the hood of the chimney, and damaged other ventilation equipment on top of the roof in an attempt to enter the bank. Total damage was estimated at $1,800, police reported.

Perales estimates Estrada, who was in Granger visiting a grandparent, was in the chimney for about 40 minutes.

"The chimney he was in was exhaust for the gas furnace," Perales noted. "If he would have been stuck overnight he'd be dead, or if he'd been in there a little while longer he probably would have passed out."

Estrada, who also temporarily fled the Granger Police Station before being captured on foot, was charged with burglary, felony, malicious mischief, escape and resisting arrest.

He was booked last night into the Wapato jail and was expected to be appear today for arraignment in Yakima County Superior Court.

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