APACHE JUNCTION, AZ—Local man Peter Overton found himself facing a terrible fate Sunday morning, having become caught in a high-pressure altar call, along with hundreds of other churchgoers at Mesa Community Church. But Overton decided to take matters into his own hands.
Though watchful ushers guarded each of the doors, ready to unleash looks of judgment upon any who would try to exit the service early, Overton noticed a ventilation duct positioned on the wall along a side aisle.
“Of course I was scared—who wouldn’t be?—but I knew it was my only chance at freedom,” Overton said later of his harrowing attempt at escape.
Rising slowly and making his way down the aisle, feigning a trip to the altar, Overton stopped next to the duct and bent down, pretending to tie his shoe before quickly producing a multitool from his person and unfastening the industrial-sized ventilation duct cover, according to witnesses who were silently cheering him on.
Before ushers caught on, Overton was able to scurry into the duct, making his way through the labyrinthine ventilation system in an attempt to find an exit.
Finally, the man noticed light coming from one of the ducts and managed to shinny up a shaft leading toward the roof of the church, and to his freedom from the high-pressure Christian sales tactic. Overton then leaped from the building to an overflowing garbage bin in the alley behind the church and made his getaway, according to obtained security footage.
At publishing time, the altar call was still ongoing.