Man Falls Through Ceiling in Store Break-In

A Wheeling man was arrested Sunday after falling through the ceiling at the Dollar General in Benwood during an alleged burglary attempt, and police believe it wasn’t the first time he attempted the same crime.

Ronald Louis Perrelli, 48, of 8240 45th St., now is the primary suspect in a similar robbery at the store on May 13, 2013. Police reportedly discovered Perrelli crawling in the ceiling early Sunday morning after noticing several missing ceiling tiles.

Perrelli ignored police instructions to come out of the ceiling as they had the store surrounded, according to Police Chief Frank Longwell.

“We had to tase him to get him out of the ceiling. We tased him and he fell 15 feet. (His resistance) was all for naught,” Longwell said. “I am certainly glad we got this guy. He has done thousands of dollars worth of damage.”

Perrelli allegedly stacked two railroad ties against the side of the building, climbed up to the roof and entered through the store’s air conditioning duct, according to Longwell.

Perrelli was charged with with breaking and entering, destruction of property and obstructing an officer. He is being held at West Virginia Northern Regional Jail on $10,000 bond.

According to the criminal complaint filed, police responded to the business at about 1:25 a.m. after a burglar alarm sounded. The complaint stated police did not find damage to the glass entrance, but noticed a panel from the ceiling was missing.

Police reportedly called for back-up after hearing someone moving in the air conditioning duct above them while more ceiling panels fell.

Perrelli allegedly later told police he entered the building through the top vent on the roof to steal cigarettes and food. He was taken to Reynolds Memorial Hospital to treat a bloody nose from the fall.

A preliminary hearing for Perrelli has not been set.