Florida Sheriff: Fugitive fell out of restaurant ceiling

Florida fugitive Richard Finelli was arrested after falling out of a restaurant ceiling where deputies were eating.
Richard Finelli (WFLA photo)

SPRING HILL, Fla. (WFLA) – A Spring Hill man took one heck of a fall, literally.

Hernando County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested the fugitive after he fell from the ceiling of the Breakfast Club of Seven Hills during lunchtime.

Richard Jason Finelli, 38, had warrants out for his arrest and was eating at the restaurant with his girlfriend when deputies came in, not to arrest him, but to have lunch. The deputies had no idea Finelli was there, but Finelli thought they had their eyes set on him. That’s when he decided to make a bolt for the bathroom.

Deputies say Finelli ran into the men’s room and climbed into a crawl space above the ceiling.

“He obviously had a guilty conscious,” said Sheriff Al Nienhuis about the suspect.

“And these tiles were all pushed up,” said Donna Grandfield, a waitress at Breakfast Club as she showed News Channel 8 how Finelli got into the ceiling.

But, Finelli’s journey was far from over as he made his way to the other side of the restaurant.

“His foot fell through, right through the air-conditioning duct right there,” Grandfield said as she remembered seeing how the incident played out.

Photo credit: RealNewsRealFast.com
Photo credit: RealNewsRealFast.com

Then, Finell’s trip to the ceiling came to an end. Finelli made a mess as he came crashing through the tiles of the ladies’ room.

As far as the employees and customers who were there at the time, they are still in a bit of a shock. We asked Grandfield if she could believe that it happened at her job.

“No I can’t,” she answered, “and I just don’t see why he just didn’t get up and walk out the front door rather than climb up through the ceiling.”

After that crash landing, Finelli bolted from the bathroom with deputies and employees hot on his trail. They wound up in a gated community down the street where deputies say Finelli broke into a house with the homeowner inside who began screaming. A short time later, deputies caught up with him and took Finelli into custody.

Employees are back at work at the Breakfast Club, knowing it could have been a whole lot worse.

“He could have been really dangerous,” said Bobby Musick, a waiter at the Breakfast Club. “Thank God he didn’t have anything on him.”

Finelli is charged with a burglary of an occupied dwelling, criminal mischief and resisting arrest without violence. His three felony warrants include domestic battery by strangulation, violation of felony probation for domestic battery and robbery by sudden snatching.

He is now out on bond.

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