Thursday, April 28, 2005
By Paul Rioux
St. Tammany bureau
It all started Wednesday shortly before 1 a.m. when employees were closing the Winn-Dixie at 303
0 Pontchartrain Drive.
The employees had seen the last customer take several items from the shelves, but the man was em
pty-handed as he walked to the front of the store to leave, Callahan said.
When the employees asked him what happened to the items, the man, later identified as Devyn Cole
man, 19, of Slidell, bolted and ran face-first into an automatic door that did not open because
it had been locked, police said.
He fell to the floor dazed and was grabbed by a few employees, who took him to an office in the
back of the store while the police were called, Callahan said.
But before the officers arrived, Coleman climbed into the 4-foot crawl space between the roof an
d the ceiling.
Police surrounded the store, and monitored Coleman as he scrambled above them.
At one point, Coleman smashed through a plasterboard wall and was about to jump down into a rear
storage room, but turned back when police entered the room, Callahan said.
Callahan credited the police dog with staying focused on his job when Coleman fell into the meat
, leapt to his feet and started running in the case, stepping on the meat as he went.
"With all those steaks and hamburgers and hot dogs, that dog must have felt like he was in canin
e heaven," he said. "But he did what he was trained to do and clamped down on the suspect's righ
t leg instead of a mouthwatering T-bone."
Police said they searched Coleman and found $60.33 worth of stolen merchandise, including a few
packages of hair dye, six cigarette lighters, several black markers and a 40-watt night light.
"We have no idea what he planned to do with all that stuff," Callahan said. "It's just another w
eird twist in an already bizarre case."
Coleman also was carrying a glass pipe and admitted having smoked crystal methamphetamine, Calla