Oops! Wanted Florida man tips off searching deputies when his phone starts ringing

Talk about a bad time to receive a phone call. A Florida man wanted by police was hiding out as deputies looked for him, and he outed himself when his phone began ringing.

Joshua Garrett, 38, was arrested Saturday by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and charged with resisting arrest and felony criminal mischief after being discovered hiding in the ceiling of the business where he worked.

It all began when deputies responded to a disturbance call in Lakeland. When they arrived, they were told the man causing the disturbance had left the business — this person was later identified as Garrett.

Deputies soon realized that Garrett was wanted for violating his probation, according to PCSO. He was previously convicted of burglary, providing false information to a pawnbroker, and trafficking of stolen property.

A search began, and when deputies stopped by a business where he was employed, they were able to confirm that Garrett had walked into the business but never left.

An initial search of the property came up empty, but deputies noticed a few ceiling tiles out of place, and it was at this point that Garrett’s phone began ringing.

A search of the crawl space ultimately resulted in a hand being discovered sticking out from under some insulation.

“Thankfully, the hand was attached to a body – Garrett’s – and not just some random disembodied hand,” the sheriff’s office said in a post on Facebook. “That would have taken this situation into a whole other direction.”

Garrett was removed from the ceiling and transported to the Polk County jail, “probably all sweaty and covered with bits of insulation,” the sheriff’s office noted.

A Facebook user responded to the story with this reminder: “Note to self: Turn off phone when playing hide and seek.”

“Thanks again, PSCO for being diligent. An attic, in FL, in this heat….. you probably saved his life,” a social media user wrote.

Another social media user posted, “They can run but they can’t hide, not in this county! Great catch, PCSO. Thank you for keeping our communities safe, and for the laughs (hashtags)!”

Tom Tillison

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