(words by NBC4 WCMH-TV Columbus)
When a suspect found himself inside a police interrogation room with cocaine in his pockets, he did the only reasonable thing he could think of. Police say he tried to stash the cocaine in the ceiling.
Police say it started in October, 2017 when 25-year-old Thomas Hartman falsely reported he was the victim of a crime. He filed a report saying his brother robbed him, KETV reported.
But, detectives did their homework.
“You just need to come clean, because I have visuals of him from the time of this robbery. He’s on the other side of town,” a detective is heard saying in an interrogation room.
While police were filing paperwork to charge him with filing a false report, police say his 17-year-old girlfriend was in the next room over, talking about sex trafficking. She told police she was doing sexual favors in exchange for money, at the direction of Hartman.
More than an hour later, video shows Hartman putting a chair on the table and placing his hands in the ceiling. Police originally thought he was trying to escape.
“You’re at the frickin’ police station, man and you put a chair up and tried to get in the ceiling,” said an officer.
As it turned out, Hartman wasn’t trying to escape. He was trying to hide something, according to police.
An officer found someone else’s wallet in the ceiling. A technician later found a small baggie of cocaine on the floor, after it apparently fell from the ceiling.
Hartman was eventually sentenced to nine months of probation for drug possession.