Yonkers arms cache probe: Odor evacuates 8 homes
Police closed off Van Cortlandt Park Avenue and removed families from eight homes Saturday after a bomb-sniffing dog caught a possible "explosive odor" from a van owned by the same man who owned a weapons cache discovered in Yonkers on Wednesday.
The van, which has been parked on Van Cortlandt for "months," belongs to Antonio Olmeda, the Yonkers man who owned a large cache of weapons discovered in the basement of a six-family Alder Street home on Wednesday, police confirmed.
Families who live in the surrounding homes have been moved down the street to Public School 23 and Van Cortlandt Park Avenue between Spruce and Elm Streets remains closed.
A bomb squad team from Westchester County was called in to search the van, police said.
Yonkers police were joined by agents from the FBI and ATF at the scene.
Cops confirmed the investigation is related to the discovery of a cache of weapons -- including handguns, rifles and 5,000 rounds of ammunition -- in the basement of a six-family Alder Street home on Wednesday night.
At the scene Saturday, a group of law enforcement officers -- including plainclothes detectives, uniformed patrol officers and federal agents wearing ballistic vests -- huddled in the middle of Van Cortlandt Park Avenue. The street was closed off with ribbons of hastily-placed, zigzagging police tape, while children played nearby and adults squinted for a view of what police were doing.
In addition to patrol cars, a Yonkers Police Department Emergency Services unit truck was parked near one home. It wasn't immediately clear which vehicle police were focused on.
The stash of weapons, which included New York Police Department identification cards and badges, as well as military-grade smoke canisters, belonged to 53-year-old Olmeda, according to cops.
Olmeda, who has listed addresses in Yonkers and New York City, is jailed at Rikers Island awaiting trial on attempted murder charges from a 2010 incident, in which he is accused of shooting at two NYPD beat officers in Queens.
Olmeda rented storage space in the basement of 22 Alder St. in 2010, where he stored his weapons and ammunition, police said. The building's landlord waited months after Olmeda stopped paying rent before he opened up a storage locker on Wednesday and found the cache. He called police, who cleared some 15 families from 22 Alder St. and two adjacent buildings and set up a 300-foot perimeter as officers removed the weapons and ammo.
Police did not describe the make and model of the vehicle they were looking at Saturday, and they kept onlookers back by setting up a perimeter as they did on Wednesday and Thursday morning on Alder Street.
Yonkers police did not initially file charges against Olmeda, and Olmeda's attorney, Garnett Sullivan, said he did not have information about the Yonkers incident or the storage locker.