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Neighbor Of ‘Trash Chute Man’ Says Suspect Seriously Risked His Life

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DENVER (CBS4) — The downstairs neighbor of a federal fugitive who entered the man’s apartment and tried to escape said the suspect seriously risked his life.

The fugitive, identified as Donnie Griffin, 30, allegedly jumped from one balcony down to another and then slid down a trash chute from the building’s 19th floor in an attempt to flee from authorities.

The sheet hanging from Griffin's patio (credit: CBS)

The sheet hanging from Griffin’s patio (credit: CBS)

The incident happened at the Glass House Condominiums in Denver’s Common’s Park neighborhood Wednesday afternoon.

Donnie Griffin (credit: CBS)

Donnie Griffin (credit: CBS)

When Craig Branton left for work on Wednesday he left his 19th-floor patio door unlocked. He never imagined a federal fugitive would lower himself down from above on a bed sheet and storm inside his apartment.

The bed sheet doubled as a lifeline for Griffin on Wednesday. Branton knows first-hand how precarious that lifeline was.

“He seriously risked his life,” Branton said.

Griffin ran through Branton’s condo to get to the trash chute.

“You don’t expect somebody to be coming through your 19th-floor deck,” Branton said. “He was just in and out. Right out my front door and right into the trash chute, is my understanding.”

Griffin made it down at least 17 stories in the trash chute.

“(I) honestly can’t imagine going through the trash chute. I don’t know which is more dangerous, going over the edge or going into the trash chute,” Branton said.

The chute ended Griffin’s long run from the law, starting with an escape from federal custody in Texas last year. Authorities tracked Griffin to the Glass House.

“This was a bad guy. He wanted to get away,” Branton said.

Branton said he feels fortunate that neither he nor his dog were home at the time.

“In the past, (the dog) had some problems with window washers, and I can only imagine what he would have done had he seen this guy coming down a bed sheet into my unit.”

Nothing was taken from Branton’s apartment. But Denver police are investigating a burglary charge for Griffin for another in addition the federal charges he already faces.

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