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Man found hiding in attic

POSTED December 14, 2010 9:16 p.m.

The ex-boyfriend of a Planada woman was arrested Sunday after Merced County Sheriff’s deputies found him living in the woman’s attic.

Miguel Lua, 27, was booked into Merced County Jail on charges of stalking, burglary, violating a court order and obstructing a peace officer.

The woman first started to grow suspicious that something was amiss when her cell phone went missing. The woman told deputies she had placed it in its charger Saturday night when she went to bed and it was gone when she awoke. She also could not find her camera until she left the house and found it on her car seat in the garage, which was not where she left it. When the woman returned home around 8 p.m., she noticed some brown debris on the carpet under the attic access in her house and heard a strange noise and decided to call the sheriff’s department.

When deputies arrived, they called up into the attic for Lua to come out. After several attempts with no success, a deputy climbed up into the attic and found Lua under some insulation. He also found several burnt candles, a coat and some shoes. It appeared as if Lua had been up there for some time, said sheriff spokesman Deputy Tom MacKenzie.

After being brought down, Lua said he was up there since about 6 p.m. and did not plan on coming down until he had to go to work the following day at 5 a.m. He also admitted to taking the victim’s phone and camera to see if she had been calling any other guys or taking their picture. Lua had been served with a restraining order earlier in the month and was not supposed to be at the house, MacKenzie said.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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