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Westborough Man Accused Of Locking Verizon Worker In Underground Vault

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WESTBOROUGH (CBS) – Police say the owner of a Westborough storage facility took his anger out on a Verizon worker by locking him up.

Every second counted for Mike Hathaway who was sealed in an underground vault running out of air, and police say it was no accident. The victim was trapped when another man allegedly slammed the door.

“He sounded extremely nervous right from the get go,” said Westborough Police Sgt. Jonathan Kalagher. “When the hatch was closed, it didn’t allow for any more oxygen to get in, so it was time sensitive to get to him.”

The suspect, 71-year-old Howard Cook, owns Westboro Self Storage. Cook was apparently mad that Hathaway parked his Verizon van on his grass to access the vault to do some work.

Police say Cook not only slammed the door shut, but he also allegedly picked up huge rocks and placed them on the door.

“They’re pretty large rocks that were put on top of the hatch,” said Sgt. Kalagher. “There was also a ladder that was removed, which prohibited him from escaping.”

Hathaway called 911 from the vault and was eventually freed by a police officer.

Cook faces a number of charges including kidnapping.

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