The remains of a man who apparently got trapped while trying to break into an East Baltimore business were found in a sealed-up chimney there yesterday.
Detective Charles R. Gilbert of the city's homicide unit said police could not immediately identify the body, which they estimated had been in the 1-foot-square chimney for several months. The chimney had been sealed at its base.
The remains were taken to the state medical examiner's office for an autopsy.
The grisly discovery was made just before 11 a.m. after officials at Kent Linens Warehouse Outlet in the 3500 block of Eastern Avenue telephoned the city Health Department to report an odor in the basement of the building.
After wastewater pipes were checked, someone looked inside the chimney through holes where bricks were missing and saw clothing.
Police said the bricks might have been knocked out by the person in a vain attempt to escape.
"He might have suffocated or died of fright. Who knows? It was a hell of a way to die," Detective Gilbert said.
An official of Kent Linens who asked not to be identified said that the building is heavily secured and that the person may have seen the chimney as the only way to get in.
However, after climbing down the two-story chimney, he was to find that it was no longer in use and had been sealed with bricks at the base.
The company official said other businesses in the area have been broken into recently.
"I'm not exactly shocked by this," he said. "People do a lot of things nowadays. I guess you can say this was the first and last time that we have been broken into."