City Man Charged After Locking Four Teens In Vault

A Jamestown man has been charged and committed to jail after police say he locked four people inside a walk-in vault Friday.

Ellicott police charged Lyle G. Howard, 19, with second-degree reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor. Falconer firefighters were summoned at 1 a.m. to 19 N. Work St. for a report of four teenagers, ages 18 and 19, trapped inside a vault.

First responders were unable to free the four, whose identities were not released by police but were expected to face underage drinking and marijuana possession charges. Police said a party had been taking place inside the residence.

A locksmith eventually was able to free the teenagers after about four hours. They were taken to WCA Hospital for evaluation and later released, police said.

Following an investigation, police learned Howard allegedly closed and spun the locking mechanism to the vault door, trapping the four inside. He was taken into custody and remanded to Chautauqua County Jail on $500 cash bail, $1,000 property bond.

Howard will be in Ellicott Town Court at a later date to answer the charge.

The vault sits inside the former Town of Ellicott municipal building, and was later purchased by the Van Every Law Firm. The building has since passed hands to a new owner.