Chimney burglar remembered in different light

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Cody Caldwell had a tough year. And a lot of bad luck, according to friends, who say he was a decent guy. But his life ended Saturday in a sad and strange way.

In the city of Huron, Caldwell is the talk of the small community. But, in the last neighborhood where he lived, neighbors aren't exactly rushing out to talk about him, or his death. Many would only say he often asked them if they wanted to buy things like stereos or small air conditioning units.

Fresno County Sheriff's investigators say they don't have much background on the suspect. "We don't have a lot of history with Cody," Tony Botti with the department said. "We can't tell you much about him. We don't have any criminal history as far as him booked into the Fresno County jail."

At the home where Caldwell died, on the outskirts of Huron, no one was home at the victim's house Monday. The homeowner told deputies his house had been burglarized several times recently, but he never bothered to report it.

The victim only called 911 Saturday after trying to rescue the trapped man himself without success. Investigators say the homeowner heard the suspect screaming when he tried to light a fire.

"Once firefighters got there Caldwell was conscious," Botti said. "He was breathing, he was moving around in the chimney, so there was a chance to save him, but it just appears the smoke and heat were too much for him to overcome. "

The burglary victim said he does not recognize Caldwell and has no idea why he or his home may have been targeted.

In a strange twist deputies discovered the homeowner was also wanted by law enforcement.

"It was totally unrelated to this case," Botti said. "It just so happened that the victim had an outstanding warrant for a misdemeanor DUI and also a felony drug possession. Our deputy used his discretion to issue him a citation."
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