YONKERS, N.Y. – A search of a van Yonkers Police believe may have been connected to a large weapons discovery did not produce any weapons or explosives, police confirmed Sunday.
City, county and federal authorities had blocked off a section of Van Cortlandt Park Avenue Saturday afternoon and evacuated eight residences between Spruce Avenue and Elm Street after finding a suspicious vehicle in a parking lot located at 37 Van Cortlandt Park Ave.
Those families were allowed to return to their homes Saturday night and the street was reopened after the van was taken into police custody.
The van had been parked in the lot for a few months, police said, and is registered to Antonio Olmeda, the man who authorities suspect of storing a cache of weapons in a storage room at 22 Alder Street.
A Yonkers Police K-9 Unit was called to the scene early Saturday and detected the possible presence of an explosive odor, police said. The Westchester County Police Bomb Squad Unit was subsequently called to the scene and police searched the van for hours.
As a precaution, roughly eight residences near the parking lot were evacuated and the individuals were offered accommodations at Public School 23 on Van Cortlandt Park Avenue until the search was complete, police said.
Olmeda, a Manhattan man currently jailed in New York City’s Rikers Island on charges of the attempted murder of two New York City police officers, is suspected of storing a large arsenal of weapons in a Yonkers home.
On Wednesday police found numerous handguns, rifles, high capacity magazines and approximately 5,000 rounds of ammunition in the home of 22 Alder St., just blocks from the location of the abandoned van.
Olmeda has racked up a long rap sheet over the years, including a pair of weapons possession charges. According to courts records, Olmeda was charged with ammunition possession in North Carolina and pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
In 1994, after Olmeda was arrested on charges of soliciting a prostitute, New York City Police found a cache of weapons inside his van, including a flame-thrower, 18 pipe bombs, machetes, a gas mask and ammunition for Uzi sub machine guns, among other weapons and ammunition, the New York Daily News reported. He served four years in prison and was paroled in 2008, the report said.