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Pasco man accused of breaking into hospice thrift store; injured in escape attempt

NEW PORT RICHEY — Efrain Ortiz's options were limited. He was on the roof, police say, and he was surrounded.

According to authorities, the 38-year-old man had broken into a hospice thrift shop, ransacked the place and was trying to make his getaway when New Port Richey police officers surrounded the building about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz jumped.

Not surprisingly, he hurt himself and was taken to a hospital, a report states. He was treated and released into the custody of police, who arrested him.

Ortiz is accused of moving a rooftop air conditioner so he could wiggle his way into the HPH Hospice Thrift Store at 6528 Massachusetts Ave. Police say he used a rope to lower himself into the shop. In his bag he carried a hatchet, pliers, two sets of screwdrivers, a pry bar and a flashlight, according to police.

Ortiz punched through a wall to get to an office containing jewelry, authorities said. He stuffed more than $3,600 worth of items into his bag and tried to hoist himself back up to the roof and fell from the ceiling, crashing onto several display cases, breaking them and their contents, the report states. His second ascent attempt was successful — until the jump.

He was arrested that day and is charged with armed burglary, possession of burglary tools with intent to use, grand theft, giving false identification to law enforcement, resisting arrest and defrauding a health care provider after giving a false name at the hospital, the report states.

Ortiz, of 1345 Viking Drive in Holiday Lake Estates, is being held at the Pasco jail in lieu of $27,450 bail. A call to the HPH store was not returned Thursday.

Pasco man accused of breaking into hospice thrift store; injured in escape attempt 04/21/11 [Last modified: Thursday, April 21, 2011 8:59pm]
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