Dispute leads to massive police investigation

Updated: 07/13/2014 11:09 PM
Created: 07/13/2014 6:27 PM WHEC.com

A dispute between a landlord and a tenant leads to a massive police investigation, tying up officers for hours and forcing people nearby out of their homes.

Police shut down Sterling Street, near Otis Street, for hours on Sunday as they conducted their investigation, and the bomb squad was called to examine an unknown liquid substance inside the home.

Investigators were able to determine that the material was not hazardous.

The landlord of the home said he was checking in on a tenant when he found suspicious vials inside the man’s living room. He says the tenant got confrontational, so he called police.

“We responded here around 3 p.m. for some sort of dispute involving the tenant at the location. It became known to us that this individual might be involved in some sort of hazardous material inside,” said Lt. LaRon Singletary.

After five house of a full-fledged police investigation, complete with the bomb squad, authorities say there were no hazardous materials inside the home on Sterling Street.

The landlord says the liquid substance inside the vials turned out to be biodiesel fuel.

Police were able to get the tenant out of the house. He was taken into custody and is now facing charges.

The investigation forced dozens of people out of their homes, but police say the evacuation was necessary for safety.

Sterling Street and part of Otis Street were blocked off to traffic for several hours. Neighbors were told to stay off the stretch of Sterling Street where the investigation was being conducted.

Some neighbors say they were told to get out quickly. Some had to leave their pets at home and were concerned for their safety. On top of that, the fear of potentially dangerous chemicals inside the house had many neighbors on edge.

Police say they took every precaution in this investigation.

“Obviously we have a lot of resources here. The fire department, the police personnel that are still going to be responding,” said Lt. Singletary.

Police say the resources put towards this investigation were a necessary precaution, especially when potentially dangerous materials were involved.

The suspect taken into custody is now facing harassment charges related to the dispute which sparked Sunday’s full-blown investigation.

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