Man locked Verizon worker vault

A Massachusetts man accused of locking a Verizon worker inside an unventilated underground vault because he was upset the worker parked on his grass has pleaded guilty to kidnapping.

Westborough resident Howard Cook Jr. entered the plea Tuesday in Worcester Superior Court, reports MassLive Worcester.

The 73-year-old Cook was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to complete an anger management program.

The family of the victim, Michael Hathaway, told the Worcester Telegram and Gazette that they were unhappy with the decision, and filed a civil suit against Cook and U-Stor Self Storage Inc.

Authorities say the retired utility official locked Michael Hathaway in the vault in August 2013 by pulling out the extension ladder, locking the hatch and placing large rocks on top. The ventilation system automatically shuts off when the door is closed.

Police say Cook was upset that Hathaway parked on the grass at his business.

There are two other defendants in the civil case, which contends that the business was negligent in controlling Cook’s actions, reports WCVB-TV.