Stamford police and FBI agents today identified and interviewed a middle-aged man who apparently had been illegally living in the home, triggering an inspection Wednesday by health inspections. The home is less than 700 feet from a middle school. The suspect, whose name hasn’t been released, has not been charged while authorities discuss whether to proceed with state or federal charges.
Police discovered loaded weapons, including rifles and shotguns, near entry points to the home, white supremacist and anti-police propaganda, a monitoring system to watch the outside of the home and a reinforced escape tunnel that ran underground through the backyard, the Stamford Patch reported. They also found bombs that were being prepared with PVC pipes loaded with nuts and bolts that were apparently meant to serve as anti-personnel shrapnel.
In addition to swastikas, a poster inside the home depicted a police funeral with a derogatory message scrawled across it, Stamford Police Chief Jon Fontneau told the newspaper. Loaded firearms were discovered near entry points to the home.
“I’ve been on hundreds, if not thousands, of search warrants,” the chief said, “and I’ve never seen anything like this.”
D.J. McAneny, a reporter for the Stamford Patch, told Hatewatch today that police and explosives experts were at the house at 170-172 Vine Road throughout the night but had cleared the scene by midday today. Stamford is 25 miles from Newtown, where 26 people were murdered on Dec. 14.
Anne Fountain, director of the Stamford Department of Health and Social Services, said her department had received the initial complaint about the property in May, but workers were refused entrance when they went to the home, the Stamford newspaper reported.
“We had received a complaint of an illegal dwelling with several code violations, but he wouldn’t let us in,” Fountain told the newspaper. “We’d been there a second time prior to [Wednesday]’s visit, so this was on ongoing complaint. We had to obtain a search warrant to access the home, which is why the police were present.”
The Stamford police chief said that when one of his officers, accompanying the health department worker, discovered explosives, they evacuated and police took over the investigation.
Tax records show the property is owned by William Hertle Properties LLC, and Debra Saturno-Galang is listed as co-owner, the Stamford Patch reported.
The police chief said health workers and his officer who initially entered the home were overcome by the smell of urine and feces from the basement, apparently from dogs that weren’t let outside, Fontneau said.