What started as a malicious mischief call at Safeway in Aberdeen ended in the store closure Tuesday morning due to a major gas leak that could cost the store in excess of 200,000 dollars in damages.
We have more on this from Lt. Darst PIO for the Aberdeen Police Department.
At about 0441, Aberdeen Police were dispatched to 221 W Heron Street, Safeway for a report of malicious mischief. It was reported that an unknown person had cut copper wiring to the gas lines.
Upon arrival of an Officer, it was discovered that the unknown person had damaged the gas lines, causing an extensive gas leak inside the store.
The Aberdeen Fire Department and the Aberdeen Police Department assisted with evacuating the store and establishing a perimeter around the store, blocking K Street and M Street as a precaution.
A representative from the gas company arrived a short time later and the gas was shut off. The Fire Department was able to clear the air of the store with the use of high pressure fans, and the employees were allowed back inside.
Aberdeen Police Officer George Kelley began his investigation, and learned that many structures on the roof of the Safeway were damaged or destroyed. Through their investigation, Officer Kelley and Officer Neil were able to secure evidence and video surveillance from local businesses, which helped develop a person of interest. The person of interest was known to officers, who were aware of areas that person frequented.
Officers Loren Neil, George Kelley, and Sgt., Timmons worked diligently to attempt to locate the person. Aberdeen Officer Neil later located the person of interest, and he was taken into custody on unrelated charges.
Through the investigation, Officers were able to develop probable cause for his arrest on charges of Criminal Sabotage, Burglary 2nd degree, and Malicious Mischief 1st degree. The person is now in custody on those charges.
An initial estimate of damages is believed to exceed 200,000 dollars.