Search for missing dynamite leads to highway closing

February 15, 2001
(LAKEWOOD, Wash.) -- Police closed a busy highway for almost four hours, causing massive traffic backups, while they searched a rented storage locker for 300 pounds of dynamite.

About 150 people were evacuated from the area around the storage facility near Tacoma during the search on Wednesday.

Investigators say the search was based on an anonymous tip that the locker contained dynamite. They feared it might be a cache of old and unstable dynamite recently reported stolen from a factory, which prompted the evacuation and the shutdown of traffic on Interstate 5.

Instead, the locker’s contents included materials for making methamphetamines and a variety of items, most of them believed stolen. Sheriff Paul Pastor said that, with an outdated computer, a washing machine and other junk, the locker resembled “a teenager’s room on steroids.”


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