Alleged burglar found hiding in crawlspace in South Portland

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SOUTH PORTLAND — A suspected drug thief and another man were arrested Sunday afternoon after police allegedly found them hiding in a tight, cluttered crawlspace.

“They were playing hide and seek, but they lost,” Sgt. Steve Webster said Monday.

Police said they were called Sunday around 2:20 p.m. by a neighbor who allegedly saw a man climb into a second-floor apartment at 919 Broadway, at the intersection of North Kelsey Street. The witness reportedly saw the same man leave the apartment via a set of stairs at the rear of the building, and told police the suspect lived on the third floor.

Five officers responded and were told by the tenants of the second-floor apartment that prescription medication was missing from their medicine cabinet. 

Police said they heard people in the third floor, but couldn’t get them to open the door. After obtaining a warrant, the officers entered the apartment and initially found no one inside.

That’s when one of the officers noticed a few small crawlspaces on the other side of a bedroom wall. After clearing out some loose wood, a television set and more items in storage, officers found Rourke Sparks, 26, who lives in the apartment. 

They also found Derrick Splude, 27, of South Portland, hiding in the crawlspace under a tarp. 

“The officers were just doing a really thorough sweep,” Webster said. 

Sparks was arrested on charges of Class B burglary and theft, and Splude was charged with refusing to submit to arrest and possession of drugs. Both men were taken to Cumberland County Jail.

The charges against Splude were later dropped. Sparks remained in jail Monday, pending $10,000 cash bail.

Mario Moretto can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or mmoretto@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @riocarmine.

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