Charles Ancrum did not succeed in breaking into a Delaware County business off I-95 over the weekend; he didn't make it out alive, either.
Police found the 50-year-old Phoenixville resident yesterday morning hanging by his neck from the garage window of a Chester Township general-contracting company.
Township Police Chief Tim Wilson said that whoever was calling Ancrum's cell phone obviously hadn't seen him at least in a couple of days, because the larvae and flies indicated that his body had been rotting in the sun over the weekend.
Wilson said that Ancrum apparently had tried to break into the building on Concord Road - possibly to steal scrap metal - by standing on a sawhorse and bashing in a small window. He said Ancrum may have poked his head into the narrow opening to look for the latch to the door.
"What happened was he slipped off the horse and snapped his neck, and he was there for about two days," Wilson said. "It was a freak accident."
An employee called police at 6:30 a.m. yesterday when he entered the building through the front door, walked into the garage and saw a man's head lodged in the window. Ancrum's body was suspended above the ground outside, police said, and the fire department had to widen the 6-inch window opening to get him down.
"That's no way to start a Monday off," Wilson said of the employee who found the body. "He came in there and looked and just took off running. [He] saw a face in the glass window. He was just hanging."
An autopsy performed yesterday determined that the cause of Ancrum's accidental death was asphyxiation and "neck compression/entrapment," according to Delaware County Medical Examiner Fredric Hellman.
Wilson said that Ancrum wasn't known to local police, but that he may have been staying at the nearby Highland Motel.
No one answered the door yesterday afternoon at MTGC, the letters on the front of the building where Ancrum was found. The garage door around the side cannot be seen from the street, which is why the Chester County resident's body wasn't discovered until yesterday. A sawhorse sat near the garage door.
Ancrum's motives may never be known, but as far as police are concerned the case ended with Hellman's finding that the death was an accident.
"This is closed," Wilson said.