Nevada man discovered living in grocery store ceiling

A hatch in the ceiling of a grocery store
A nice place to hide
Photo: mikroman6 (Getty Images)

Remember the Haggen Grocery Store Burglar? For several months last winter, he confounded police and employees of Haggen Northwest Fresh Market in Auburn, Washington, just outside Tacoma, who compiled lots of evidence—including video—that he was hanging around in the store’s rafters but were unable to find him, even with infrared cameras and the K9 squad.


Well, now he has a copycat. Police in Fernley, Nevada, not too far from Reno, apprehended a man living in the rafters of a Raley’s grocery store. The man, Matthew Hammar, was homeless and had set up camp above the deli, where he’d built himself a little nest in which police discovered a small spread of deli meat and other stolen groceries.

While the Haggan Grocery Store Burglar haunted the store from Christmas to early February, Hammar’s residence at Raley’s lasted just one week. He was discovered early on the morning of September 30 when his foot went through the ceiling and was spotted by employees who were opening up the store. “He took a bad step and one of his feet went through the ceiling, exposing his foot to where people could see it and that’s what alerted the employees,” Johnny Smith, captain of patrol for the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, told the Reno Gazette Journal.

The comedy of errors continued when police tried to apprehend Hammar. When he refused to respond to negotiation, the police sent a member of the K9 unit up into the ceiling. “The K9 went in there and unfortunately fell into some sort of shaft area and got stuck,” Smith reported. Reinforcements were summoned from the fire department to recover both the man and dog. Both were uninjured.

Associate editor of The Takeout. Chicagoan. Owned by dog.


Probably should have used a Great Dane instead of a German Shepard. Great Dane’s are phenomenal at solving mysteries in haunted locations involving lots of food and snacks.