SFGATE –  Emergency crews responded to the sandwich-ice cream shop on the 200 block of Soscol Avenue about 8:15 a.m. after employees arrived for work and heard screaming coming from the walls, said John Callanan, a division chief of operations for the Napa City Fire Department.

“Definitely never had anyone stuck in our wall before,” said an employee of the shop, who only wanted to be identified by her first name, Robyn.

Robert Turbidy, 48, allegedly climbed on the roof of the shop and entered an access door where he lowered himself into an 18-inch diameter crawl space using a makeshift rope, police said. At some point, the rope broke and he became wedged in the fetal position for about eight hours.


I can’t hear a story like this and not put on my internet investigator hat. From the article, we know that this dude climbed up a roof with a rope in hand. The rope tells us he had a plan. It’s not just a little bit of rope and it’s not dirty and old. The picture of him stuck in the shaft shows us he has more than ten feet of perfectly new, white rope.

I went to google maps to get some more information. Here are two pictures. One shows the overhead of where he was and one shows the exterior of the wall he slid behind.




If you can’t read the store names on the second image allow me to type them out for you. I think they are important. We have two rooftops in the area. The stores under the roof this man climbed upon include, Jamba Juice, Gamestop, Great Clips, Eyebrow Art, and Baskin Robbins/Togo’s. If you’re a burglar who purchased rope in preparation for your great heist I can’t see any of those names jumping out as the perfect place to rob. Under the roof of the building ten feet away, we have a Starbucks, a Cellularworld, a Panda Express and a Chase Bank. Again, there’s not a single entity there that opens my eyes in terms of having a lot of cash on hand.

Now our robber is on the roof, walking around, searching for the perfect spot to repel down into a store. We’ve got big ventilation devices every ten feet. Sure those could lead somewhere but they also could not. It’s the access door that pulls him in. The access door that is on the very side of the building. The very very side of the building. Right next to the wall he most likely climbed up. He opens it up and sees that it’s 18 inches wide. It’s got 2 by 4s on the sides that he could easily use as a ladder but he purchased rope god damn it! He’s going to use the rope. He’s rappelling, he’s about to finally pull off his master robbery, the Baskin Robbins/Togo’s heist he’s dreamed about, but wait! The rope is too thin! It snaps. He falls two feet to ground. He’s stuck! He’s hot. He takes his clothes off to fight the heat. He tries to move but he can’t. Eventually, the sun comes up and he yells and screams for help. The very people who he never wanted to see are now saving his life. He’s thankful for the firefighters and police but is also angry with them because now he’s going to jail.

It’s a confusing tale but I think we pieced it together nicely. I think Baskin Robbins employee Robyn summed it up best when she said, “definitely never had anyone stuck in our wall before.”