Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Burglary suspect trapped in ventilation system

By Tom Holm Lewiston Tribune

A die-hard would-be burglar allegedly tried to enter a Lewiston pawn shop but became trapped in the ventilation system for more than a day.

Patrick Mathwig, 35, of Moscow, reportedly removed a vent on the roof of 1st Interstate Pawn on G Street and tried to enter the business Sunday, according to Lewiston police reports.

Sgt. George Hill said Mathwig crawled through the ventilation ducts but soon found himself upside down and in a twisted position, unable to move. Mathwig was trapped in the vents until about 7:30 a.m. Monday, when employees arrived and heard moaning coming from the roof. Police and Lewiston firefighters responded and were able to remove a grate and pull Mathwig out.

Hill estimated Mathwig spent between 30 and 36 hours trapped in the vents. He said Mathwig’s position constricted blood from getting to both of his legs and one arm. He was taken to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston and later flown to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane.

Hill said Mathwig’s condition appeared to be life-threatening, but after treatment in Spokane he is expected to survive. A hospital spokeswoman said Mathwig was listed in serious condition Thursday morning.

Hill said reports were submitted to the Nez Perce County Prosecutor’s Office to look at charging Mathwig with attempted burglary. Hill didn’t have an estimate of damage caused to the pawn shop.