Suspected porch pirate crawls into sewer to try to escape police

A suspected porch pirate’s run from the law got bogged down a bit, after he decided to crawl into a neighborhood storm drain in Fayette County to elude pursuing officers.

If creepy, tight spaces make you claustrophobic, this story is not for you. Let’s skip to the ending then, when after an hour and half inside the storm drain, Lavern Vereen crawled halfway out and was then hauled completely out by waiting officers. All the while, a sheriff’s K-9 sent into the drain was nipping at his heels.

"It started as a vehicle crash, and as responding officers arrived, the subject fled on foot," said Fayette County Sheriff Barry Babb.

Vereen, 31 of Decatur, was a suspected porch pirate, stealing packages, when his car was involved in that accident, deputies said. And as the sheriff said, he ran away.

In the foot pursuit for Vereen, officers say they found an empty holster and drugs, meaning he was possibly armed.

As they scoured a neighborhood on Clydesdale Court, they made a shocking discovery. Vareen had climbed down into a storm drain and was attempting to escape by crawling deep underground.

After repeated warning, deputies deployed pepper spray into the more than 50 yards of drain pipe. But no one popped out at either end.

After more than an hour in the heat, officers grew concerned that Vereen had grown quiet, perhaps was stuck, fallen ill, or had escaped in a connecting pipe.

Deputies attempted to fly a drone into the pipe to see him, and eventually that camera caught sight.

The video showed that no amount of coaxing could persuade him to come out.

Deputies then deployed Fayette County K-9 Axe into the pipe, first on a long leash. Vereen said he would come out, but when he didn’t, Axe was released all the way into the drain.

Within seconds, Vereen made his way up into the fresh air and the waiting grasp of officers, seemingly fully persuaded by a barking and snapping K-9 Axe at his heels.

Medics checked Vereen out for pepper spray and dog bites. He was booked into the Fayette County Jail on multiple charges.