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Neighbors return after West End home 'stabilized,' several 'hazardous' items seized

Police called to Durwood Crescent home nearly 50 times over 5 years; several 'hazardous' items seized from property
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Neighbors told to evacuate, roads closed as Henrico investigators swarm West End neighborhood
Posted at 5:23 PM, Mar 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-22 16:57:27-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — Police said an incident at a West End home involving "potentially hazardous materials" was "stabilized" Friday afternoon and that evacuated neighbors could return to their homes.

Henrico Police and Fire officials, Virginia State Police and the FBI had blocked off the neighborhood and roads behind the Village Shopping Center in Tuckahoe.

Police said about 30 families who live in the neighborhood were evacuated since Thursday.

"Resources are breaking down the perimeter and condensing operations to the immediate house under investigation," Henrico Police spokesperson Will McCue wrote. "Residents will be able to return to the neighborhood and their homes by 6 p.m."

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Police: Several 'hazardous' items seized from home

McCue said "several credible items" were seized from the property due to their "hazardous nature" and said multiple agencies will continue their joint investigation.

"We're still working to learn more what exactly those items are," Henrico Police spokesperson Lt. Matt Pecka said. "Some of the items need to be tested, whether it be narcotics, whether it be actual EOD related matter. So there's a lot of testing and analysis that does have to go in and is part of the active investigation."

Police noted that a section of of the 7200 block of Durwood Crescent would continue to be closed while "investigators wrap up the remainder of their investigation."

Police escorted those families back to their homes Friday morning for a brief period of time to gather essentials items.

This situation all began Thursday around 12:30 p.m. when police said they went to serve a warrant at a home in the 7200 block of Durwood Crescent — which is where they are continuing their investigation on Friday.

Police said the home is tied to two people who were arrested Wednesday after an alleged domestic incident in the 9600 block of Southmill Drive, which is a little over a mile away from the home on Durwood.

Police got a call Wednesday about a woman being held against her will in the home on Southmill Drive. They said they were able to help her safely leave the home.

Home was 'anomaly in the neighborhood,' woman says

A 21-year-old woman was arrested and charged with contempt and possession of drugs, and 52-year-old Michael Hardy of Henrico was arrested and charged with strangulation resulting in simple assault against a family member, according to police.

Both the 21-year-old woman and Hardy are being held without bond and both have ties to the home on Durwood Crescent, according to police.

"As part as the ongoing investigation, we're still looking into their exact relationship," Pecka said.

Police revealed Friday officers had been called to the Durwood Crescent address 47 times over the past five years.

Lynn Johnston, who lives just outside the evacuation zone, called the home that is the focus of the investigation an "anomaly in the neighborhood."

"All of this unfolded to a next level," Johnston said.

Matt Hrabak, who lives across the street from the home and was evacuated, said the situation in the house across street has been "building for a while."

"So we didn't know if things would get straightened out or if something like this was going to happen," Hrabak said.

Neighbors evacuated Thursday afternoon

When police tried to enter the Durwood Crescent home on Thursday afternoon, they said they became immediately concerned for their safety and the safety of others in the area. That's when they called in more law enforcement and explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) officials.

"It's not necessarily that there is a known bomb or an explosive device, but there were items that were known to our trained individuals that alerted them to leave the residence," Pecka noted.

Officials then went door-to-door on Thursday to evacuate the nearby homes. The neighborhood had been blocked off by police and fire officials ever since.

Just before 10 p.m. on Thursday, police warned Henrico residents who live near the neighborhood that they may hear a loud noise from EOD officials working on something from outside of the home. Operations at the scene ended shortly after and resumed Friday morning.

As of Friday morning, police said they still had not been able to enter the home safely.

Some evacuated neighbors were allowed back inside their homes Friday morning to collect things while they stay in a hotel.

Hrabak, who was evacuated with his wife and three kids, said "it was almost like a little mini adventure" for the kids.

Police thanked the community and residents "for their patience and understanding during this extended operation."

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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