YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A “novelty device” found in an emotionally disturbed Queens’ man’s SUV forced Route 46 closed and nearly 20 homes evacuated before the Bergen County Bomb Squad gave the all-clear just after 10 o’clock tonight.
What was a long, tense situation began with 3:10 p.m. call from the 28-year-old Woodhaven man, who was parked at the STS Tire Warehouse lot on the south side of Route 46, Ridgefield Police Capt. Robert Hippe told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
The caller at first told police his car was broken into, Hippe said.
Responding officers discovered he didn’t have a driver’s license. But his Toyota Rav 4 was parked and not running, so they couldn’t give him a summons, the captain said.
“He didn’t want to give a lot of information. He just wanted a report made,” Hippe told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
The officers offered to give him a ride to headquarters, but Hippe said he refused.
Around 4 o’clock, officers driving by spotted the car pointed in the direction of traffic. So they boxed in his car and tried talking with him.
“His behavior became increasingly irrational and paranoid,” Hippe said. “He rolled up the window, locked the doors and refused to come out.”
Hippe said the officers wouldn’t have been concerned until he began referring to “devices” in the car and about “swallowing a microchiop or something like that.”
Worried that he might be a danger to himself or someone else, the officersbroke the window, Maced him and got the man out, the captain told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
They then had him taken to Bergen Regional Medical Center in Paramus.
Around the same time, Hippe said, they spotted what looked like a hand grenade in the car. They cordoned off the area near Laurel Street, closed the highway, evacuated the homes and called the Bergen County Police Department Bomb Squad.
A command post that included borough firefighters also was established.
The bomb squad determined the device was harmless, said Hippe, describing it as “some type of novelty item.”
The entire highway was re-opened, and residents returned to their homes, beginning just after 10 p.m., he said.
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