University of Kentucky student arrested after crawling through air duct to steal college exam

It was a like a scene straight out of a teen heist movie.

Two college students plotted to steal a copy of the final exam for a statistics class by crawling through the air duct late at night, lowering himself from the ceiling and grabbing the test.

According to the New York Times, a small coincidence derailed the entire plan.

University of Kentucky instructor John Cain was working late on Tuesday night. He left for a meal at midnight and returned around 2 a.m. to finish work and coincidentally foil the plan, according to spokesperson Jay Blanton.

During the early hours of Wednesday morning, one of the hopeful test thieves, Henry Lynch II, crawled 10 feet through an air duct and lowered himself eight feet down to the floor of Cain's office using file cabinets and furniture as footholds. It's not clear how he got inside the air duct.

According to The New York Times, Lynch, a 21-year-old biosystems engineering student, opened the door to let Troy Kiphuth, a 21-year-old sophomore studying agricultural economics, inside the room. Kiphuth was not in Cain's class.

Cain returned from his meal to find something was blocking the door when he tried to get inside. He threatened to call the police, then the students broke free from the office and ran down the hall, Blanton told The New York Times.

Lynch later returned to Cain's office and confessed to the break-in shortly after the police arrived because he was afraid that Cain would be able to identify him, Blanton said.

Both Lynch and Kiphuth were charged with felony burglary and did not respond to The New York Times' request for comment.

Lynch told the police that he had originally broken into Cain's office at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, but he could not find the exam.

Blanton told The New York Times that the student had stolen another exam from Cain's office earlier this semester, but he did not share the answers with others. In both cases, he used the air duct to get inside.

As of Thursday, the university has not taken action against the students, but the Office of Student Conduct plans to investigate. Blanton did not discuss how the students might be punished.

"Cheating and theft of this kind is very serious in an academic institution," he told The New York Times, adding that incidents like this one are rare at the university.

"It's an unusual set of circumstances," he told the paper. "It also underscores how late our faculty work."

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