Mystery Powder Leads to Evacuations in Greenwich Village

A search for narcotics in a Greenwich Village apartment on Saturday morning led to a call to the bomb squad and evacuations after detectives discovered explosive powder, the police said.

Members of the narcotics squad, who had executed a search warrant in the apartment building, at 8 West Ninth Street, were told by someone in the apartment that the powder was “some sort of organic explosive,” a police official said.

The police official said that it did not appear that the powder was being used to make a bomb. It was removed by the bomb squad, and it was unclear exactly what the substance was.

The police official added that two guns were also removed from the apartment and that charges in the case were pending.

Still, police tape stretched across sidewalks and parts of the street on Saturday morning, sealing off the block of Ninth Street, near Fifth Avenue, where the powder had been found.

Jennifer Han, 31, said that she woke up shortly after 7 a.m. and saw several police officers banging on the windows of buildings on the south side of the block and evacuating people. Officers later allowed those who could prove that they lived or worked on the block to duck beneath the tape.

As snow began to fall, some people walking up and down Fifth Avenue stopped to gaze at the police vehicles on the block and the officers posted near the tape, an unusual scene in an area filled with elegant brick townhouses.

“It’s totally not normal,” said Scott Adams, a psychologist who was escorted beyond the tape and into his office by police officers about 10:30 a.m. “There’s very little crime here.”

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