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Man finds fugitive in closet

The elderly Hollywood Hills couple sat in their living room, watching TV for about six hours without realizing that Harrel Franklin Braddy, an armed, bleeding fugitive, was hiding only a few feet away.

Almost six hours later, 78-year-old Joseph Cole discovered him in a closet, feigned a heart attack, climbed out a window and called police. By the time officers arrived, Braddy, a three-time escapee who is wanted on two counts of attempted murder, had roared off in the Coles' 1984 white Ford station wagon.

Acting on tips, police searched for Braddy Saturday at the Seminole Indian Reservation in Hollywood, a southwest Broward shopping center and in Opa-locka and Coral Gables to no avail.

"We've notified all police agencies . . . the BOLO (be-on- the-lookout advisory) keeps going out, we're knocking on doors, but so far, no luck, " Broward sheriff's spokesman George Crolius said late Saturday night.

Braddy was under guard Friday at Memorial Hospital in Hollywood when he attacked the deputies watching him, stole their guns and escaped about 3 p.m.

A few minutes after his escape, Rose Jannuzzi, 76, who lives less than a block away from the hospital in the 3300 block of Hayes Street, said a man who fit Braddy's description knocked on her back door, begging to come in.

He ran when Jannuzzi threatened to call police.

When police arrived and found Braddy's hospital gown in some nearby bushes, Joseph Cole, Jannuzzi's neighbor, came to see what all the fuss was about.

"They told me, 'Go home, lock your door, stay inside, nothing will happen, ' " Cole said.

But Braddy was inside Cole's home at the time.

Police believe that Braddy broke in through an awning window of a south bedroom after he failed to gain entrance to Jannuzzi's house.

Heard noises

Cole and his wife, Lorraine, 67, didn't hear him enter.

Lorraine Cole decided to go to bed about 9 p.m. Joseph, who sleeps in a separate bedroom, said he decided to retire about 15 minutes later.

But Lorraine couldn't sleep. She woke up her husband, complaining she heard noises coming from her closet.

"She said it sounded like an animal clawing, " said Cole. "I said 'Lorraine, it can't be an animal, everything has been closed up all day.' "

Lorraine returned a few minutes later to report that the noise was getting worse.

"I said, 'OK, I'll put her mind at ease and check it out, ' " Cole said.

When he tried to open the closet, the door wouldn't budge.

"I thought it was stuck, " Cole said.

It took three tries before Braddy, who was holding the knob from the inside, let go and leapt out, brandishing one of the guns he had stolen from the deputies.

Heart scare

"He pointed the gun at the floor, " Cole said. "He said, 'No lights. I won't hurt you. I just want to get away.' "

Cole, who does have heart problems, said he clutched his chest, groaned and told Braddy he was a having a heart attack.

"I told him I had to have my angina pills, " Cole said.

Braddy allowed Cole to go in the next room so he could get his pills and lie down.

His terrified wife of 48 years stayed in the bedroom with Braddy.

The 35-year-old fugitive, who was wearing only blue jeans, told her he wanted a shirt and the keys to the couple's car.

"I knew I had to figure out a way to get help, " said Cole, a native of Italy who moved to South Florida in 1940.

Cole said he climbed out of his bedroom window and began banging on the window of his 72-year-old neighbor.

The neighbor did not hear him at first, but finally let him in to call police.

Called police

Meanwhile, Braddy was inside the Coles' garage, attempting to start the couple's 1967 blue Ford Torino.

The car wouldn't start because the ignition only works when the Torino is in neutral, said Cole.

Lorraine Cole then gave Braddy the keys to the station wagon.

From 3:05 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday, more than 20 officers from Hollywood Police Tactical Enforcement team and K-9 units fanned out across the neighborhood.

At 9:30, the units were replaced by unmarked cars that were stationed within one square mile of the hospital.

Somehow, Braddy was able to slip through undetected.

When police arrived at the Coles' home, they found piles of bloody rags in the bedroom closet.

Braddy ripped intravenous needles from his arm when he escaped.

It was his second visit to the hospital last week.

When Braddy was caught early Tuesday and charged with breaking into an electronics store, he was taken to Memorial for treatment of police dog bites received during the arrest.

Dog bites

He escaped from the hospital emergency room at about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday and eluded recapture for three hours.

Police caught up with Braddy at about 7:30 a.m. in the back yard of a Cleveland Street home, just a few blocks from the hospital. The dogs bit him again, and he was taken back to the emergency room.

His arm began swelling and doctors detected signs that Braddy's heart muscle was inflamed.

Braddy was admitted and chained to a bed on the hospital's eighth floor Friday. He was unchained when he asked to go to the bathroom and managed to overpower two deputies.

Braddy, who had given a false identity when arrested, is wanted in the attempted murder of his former mistress in August. He also is wanted in the attempted strangling of a Dade guard when he escaped from Miami's Metro Justice Building Sept. 14.

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