MUNCIE - A man accused of breaking into a Mount Pleasant home last week took nothing - but left his false teeth.
Unfortunately for Paul D. Lee, the dentures bore his name, prompting police to arrest him on preliminary charges of burglary and auto theft.
Late Wednesday, Lee, 39, 218 E. Eighth St., was being held at the Delaware County jail in lieu of a ,000 bond.
According to police, late in the evening on Sept. 23, Lee broke into a vacant house near Mount Pleasant that was being remodeled.
Investigators suspect that Lee broke in through the front door, tripped on something in the home's garage and lost his dentures, as well as his baseball cap.
The next morning, Louie Coill, who owns the home, found Lee's hat and called police.
Initially, neither Coill nor sheriff's deputies found the dentures. But about 4 hours later, after police had left, Coill's aunt found the false teeth on the floor of the garage.
"I never paid no attention. I was looking for things that were missing; I wasn't looking for teeth," Coill said later. "I have fell over fences and done everything else in my life and I have never lost my dentures. How he lost his is beyond me."
After calling several dentists' offices, police learned that the dentures had the owner's name on them hidden underneath the fake gum, as required by state law.
"It was a unique experience to get that call from the police," said Teresa Rice, who answered the phone at Affordable Dentures when police called last week. "In the time I have worked here no one has called about lost dentures. I thought right away that this is one of those 'stupid criminal' stories."
When police found Lee on Friday living with his mother on Muncie's south side, he didn't have any teeth.
According to police records, Lee's false teeth were given to him so he could confess to the crime on videotape.
Lee told investigators that after he left the area, he realized he had lost his teeth and went back the next morning to look for them in a cornfield.
Authorities also charged Lee in connection with the theft of a pickup truck that was stolen from a house next to Coill's.
Investigators allowed Lee to have his teeth back for good after he signed for them.
"It was a first for me," Delaware County Police Sgt. Butch Blackmer said. "I have never caught someone with their teeth before."