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Man arrested after locking ‘trespassing’ Verizon worker into underground vault

By Mason White 4:07 AM August 8, 2013
Scene of the incident 

By: Debbie Gross
(Scroll down for video) A man was arrested and charged with unlawful detainment related charges after he locked a telephone company worker into an underground vault, claiming that the worker was trespassing on his property, according to police reports in Massachusetts.

Westborough Police said that the owner of a storage facility took out his anger on a Verizon worker.

Every second counted for Mike Hathaway after he was sealed in an underground vault, gasping for air, and police said it was not an accident. The victim was trapped when another man allegedly shut the door on him.

“He sounded very nervous right from the beginning,” Westborough Police Sergeant Jonathan Kalagher said. “When the hatch was closed, it did not allow any more oxygen to enter, so it was extremely important to get to him fast,” he said.

The suspect, 71-year-old Howard Cook, owner of the Westboro storage facility, was apparently mad that Hathaway parked his Verizon truck on his grass to access the vault to do some work.
Police said that Cook not only closed the door, but also allegedly collected huge rocks and put them at the door.

“They were quite large rocks that were on the top of the hatch,” Sergeant Kalagher said. “There was also a staircase that has been removed, which prohibited the victim from escaping,” he added.
Hathaway called police from the vault and was eventually released by a police officer.
Cook, faces several charges, including kidnapping.