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Explosives-Packed House Forces Neighborhood Evacuation

Photo by tonyz20 via Shutterstock
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Until this week, Lakewood residents probably had little idea that one of their neighbors was an ex-felon who had tunneled under his house and packed it with explosive devices. The suspect was arrested without incident Tuesday morning, but not before a 10-hour standoff and a widespread neighborhood evacuation.

When authorities came to serve an arrest warrant, the suspect hid in the crawl space under his house, which happened to be full of explosive devices.

The man, whose name has not been released, was on active community supervision status for assault with a deadly weapon and had prior arrests for possession of narcotics and possession of a deadly weapon, according to at statement by Sgt. Rich Peña of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

About 20 homes near the 5200 block of Iroquois Avenue in Lakewood were evacuated for several hours while sheriff's deputies searched the home. They cleared the scene at about 8 p.m., although residents were not allowed to return to their homes for a few more hours.

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After several attempts to get the suspect to surrender, deputies deployed unspecified "non-lethal devices" and were finally able to apprehend him. The police apparently did not find the explosives until they searched the house, where they discovered a make-shift door hatch which led to an underground tunnel beneath the residence. Peña said that the tunnels were searched and found to contain what appeared to be explosive devices. They were "rendered safe" after two hours and the evacuation was lifted.

The incident began at about 8:30 a.m., although the presence of explosives was apparently not discovered until 6:00 p.m., when authorities called in the Sheriff's Arson/Explosive Detail and began evacuating nearby homes.

Authorities did not have to blow up the house, as they did with that ridiculously bomb-laden home in Escondido, but we're going to guess that "handy tunnels to hide from the police and/or store your explosives" is not a great selling point for future owners.

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