Too Much 'Mission Impossible'
When Knoxville Police found 25-year-old Richard Anthony Smith, they say he was trapped in an air duct about 45 feet below the roof of the Knoxville Museum of Art.
But it's what he said next--"Mission failed"--that would launch a tale of intrigue.
With help from the Knoxville Fire Department, officers pulled Smith from the air duct without injury. Then they asked him what he was doing.
A police report indicates Smith said he was a "special agent with the United States Illuminati, badge number 0931."
One from "Director Womack," to "defuse and confiscate a Soviet-made MERV6SS-22AN warhead, with 14.5 kg of enriched uranium and a plutonium trigger, capable of delivering a 40-kiloton yield."
Police say Smith believed the device was concealed in a blue, plastic cow sculpture in the basement of the museum.
Smith was the first to tell police he was off-course however--the police report indicates he got a phone call from his "agency" while in the air duct, saying they had made a mistake, as the bomb is supposed to be hidden in a museum in Memphis.
"Thank goodness he had a cell phone and was able to call 911 and got out without getting injured, because it could have turned out much worse," said KMA Executive Director David Butler.
"You know everyone is laughing about it, and obviously concerned about this guy and his well being, and it was a serious situation, and we had to handle it as such," said KPD spokesman Darrell DeBusk.
The police report indicates Smith said he rappeled onto the roof from a CH2 Huey, but police believe he stood on an ash tray to get onto the stepped-design portion of the roof.
Smith called 911 himself, just before 4:30 Wednesday morning. He faces a charge of aggravated burglary.