What is the attraction of Atlanta construction equipment to mentally unstable people? On Wednesday, for instance, Carl Roland (age 41) drove all the way from Florida just to climb a crane in the upscale Atlanta neighborhood of Buckhead after killing his girlfriend back home. A police spokesman refused to release the man’s identity saying: “I don’t want to give this guy any notoriety. I don’t want any copycats.”
It seems the Atlanta police have forgotten 23-year-old Mike Kelly. Back in 2001, Mike scaled a different crane in Buckhead and hanged himself after a nearly 24 hour standoff with police. You’d think that would be pretty memorable but whatever.
The difference now is that Carl is almost twice the age of Mike, his crane is 4 stories higher, and he’s held police at bay for over 48 hours. Plus, Mike was just crazy — Carl is crazy and homicidal. Sounds like a new record in every dimension, doesn’t it?
This is not to say that the only people to partake of perilously perched police-pacifying encounters in Atlanta are maniacs, though. In 1999, Atlanta’s Cotton Mill Lofts burst into flame trapping a construction worker on you-guessed-it a construction crane. He was stuck for only a few hours before a helicopter grabbed him.
With each passing year, then, we’re seeing increasingly disturbed people put together longer engagements with police atop ever higher Atlanta cranes. Once they get Carl down, then, the only question left will be who can top him? Oh, and how long before that tool David Blaine gets involved.