Police investigating a suspicious vehicle Monday morning in a parking garage in downtown Baltimore found two containers of diesel fuel, police say.
Police and fire were called shortly after 10:48 a.m. to a parking garage in the 100 block of East Pratt Street. Police and building sources told the 11 News I-Team that a van entered the garage around 4:30 a.m. Monday and parked. Security later smelled gasoline and officials saw containers of diesel fuel inside and started an investigation.
Baltimore police Col. Richard Worley said fire officials noticed some suspicious things and called police. Police went in and examined the van with a robot. Worley said they found devices that they thought could be hazardous, loaded with diesel fuel with cables running to it that made it look like something more serious.
Worley said no other ill intent is suspected of the driver.
"We have searched for the van's owner and we are at the location right now trying to find out what the issue was and why we parked it there. We have video of the incident when it happened, but we believe they were just out to steal diesel fuel," Worley said. "When bomb techs realized there was wiring into the back of it, they made entry into the van and saw that it was a rigged device to pump diesel fuel out and then to take it and sell it somewhere else."
A city official told the I-Team that law enforcement was doing a final sweep of buildings around the parking garage where the suspicious vehicle was parked. Worley said at 4 p.m. that streets would reopen "very shortly."
Streets in the area were closed off, including, but not limited to, Pratt, Light, Lombard and Calvert streets and Guilford Avenue. They reopened around 4:45 p.m., SkyTeam 11 reported.
At 4:42 p.m., the Baltimore Department of Transportation tweeted: "Roadways are beginning to open in the downtown area. Commuters should still anticipate heavy congestion and delays and are still encouraged to avoid the downtown district this afternoon."
Bomb technicians and hazardous materials crews suited up and entered the building around 12:49 p.m., SkyTeam 11 reported. About an hour later, the bomb squad deemed it safe for Fire Department personnel to go in and take gas readings, SkyTeam 11 reported.
A Maryland Department of the Environment truck arrived at the scene around 3:43 p.m., SkyTeam 11 reported.