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Man Locked Verizon Worker in Vault; Guilty of Kidnapping

Image: Man Locked Verizon Worker in Vault; Guilty of Kidnapping

Verizon underground service vault. (Twitter)

By    |   Thursday, 12 May 2016 08:10 AM

A man who had locked a Verizon worker in an underground service vault back in 2013 was placed on probation for one year after he entered a guilty plea to kidnapping in Worcester Superior Court in Massachusetts on Tuesday.

The Worcester County District Attorney's Office told MassLive.com that Howard W. Cook, 73, of Westborough, also will have to complete an anger management program. The first six months of his probation will be supervised.

Prosecutors had sought three years of probation and home confinement for the first six months, wrote MassLive.com. According to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Cook could have received up to 10 years in state prison for the kidnapping charge.

According to the Telegram & Gazette, on Aug. 5, 2013, Verizon technician Michael Hathaway parked his company vehicle on the grass near Cook's self-storage business in Westborough. Verizon has an easement to cross the storage company's property to a vault that services a nearby industrial park.

Cook reportedly screamed and swore at Hathaway as the technician worked inside the vault, then pulled up the ladder, closed the door and locked the hatch. Cook also placed two large rocks on top of the vault's door after he shut it.

Hathaway used his cellphone to call police and said the ventilation system had shut off when the vault was closed.

Hathaway said he now suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome because of the incident and had filed a civil lawsuit against Cook in Worcester Superior Court in November, 2014, according to the Telegram & Gazette.

U-stor, the self-storage company Cook worked for, was also listed as a defendant. The suit charged that U-stor "failed to properly supervise and control Mr. Cook with regard to his actions," reported the Telegram & Gazette.

Authorities told the Telegram & Gazette in 2014 that Cook has had a history of history of volatile actions where police have become involved in disputes between him and neighbors over the years before the 2013 incident.

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A man who had locked a Verizon worker in an underground service vault back in 2013 was placed on probation for one year after he entered a guilty plea to kidnapping in Worcester Superior Court in Massachusetts on Tuesday.
man, locked, verizon, worker, vault
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2016-10-12
Thursday, 12 May 2016 08:10 AM
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