YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Several families were evacuated overnight after a large amount of weapons and ammunition was discovered in the basement of a multifamily home in Yonkers, police said Thursday.
The landlord of 22 Alder St., found the items around 4 p.m. Wednesday in a storage closet he had rented out to a New York City man, police said.
Multiple agencies responded, including Yonkers police, the FBI, the Westchester County Bomb Squad and members of the NYPD.
WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane reports
Once inside, investigators found “numerous handguns, rifles, high-capacity magazines and approximately 5,000 rounds of ammunition,” police said.
They also found NYPD badges and ID cards as well as several “military-type smoke canisters,” police said.
The response began when the landlord, Ilia Tcharnyi, went to the storage space because the tenant was 8 months behind on his payments and uncovered the stash, CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported.
Investigators pieced together a reason they said the tenant was not paying his bill — he is behind bars.
Police said the tenant is Antonio Olmeda, who was jailed on attempted murder charges for allegedly firing at two police officers on Dec. 2, 2011, in Jackson Heights, Queens.
When the officers were fired at, the bullets narrowly missed them. Police said they found two guns on Olmeda and found four more at another home.
But Olmeda’s Yonkers connection was a mystery. The landlord said he did not live in the home, just rented the storage unit.
As a precaution, the building and two surrounding homes were evacuated.
“It’s shocking and I’m happy it’s over,” said Tcharnyi. “They got all the stuff out.”
The storage closet was rented to Olmeda in 2010, police said.
“He was friendly. I didn’t have no suspicions when he was renting the place,” Tcharnyi said. “He gave me his driver’s license, all the information about him, so there was nothing unusual or suspicious in the beginning.”
Residents were allowed back home about 12 hours later after authorities deemed it was safe. Neighbors said they were still shaken by the knowledge they were living so close to such a terrifying arsenal.
“Extremely unsettling to hear, especially living on the ground floor to have that under my feet for as long as it might have been there,” said tenant John Demczuk.
Olmeda worked as a plumber and previously served time for a weapons conviction. He is currently at Rikers Island awaiting trial.