2005-01-21 / Front Page

Grenade Scare Causes Terror On Snowy Night

By Howard Schwach

A hand grenade found sitting in an empty paper cup in the lobby of a Rockaway high-rise building caused a partial evacuation of the building on Wednesday night as dozens of tenants who could not get into their apartments sat in their running cars on Shore Front Parkway, trying to keep warm in a driving snow.

Police sources say that the evening of terror began shortly before 8 p.m., when a maintenance worker found the grenade in the lobby of 8000 Shore Front Parkway, a twelve-story building at Beach 80 Street.

Police from the 100 Precinct responded, quickly sealing off the building, moving those on the first and second floor out of their apartments and into the snowy evening and restricting all access to the building.

Many of the tenants who could not get home sat in their cars on the south side of Shore Front Parkway, keeping their engines on to stay warm in a driving snow.

“I had to drive to work today because of the bus strike,” one woman who asked not to be identified told a Wave reporter as she sat in her car. “Then I come home to this. I can’t even get into my apartment to wash up and go to the bathroom.”

Officers from the police department’s bomb squad gingerly took the hand grenade out of the building and to Rodman’s Neck in the Bronx for testing and disposal.

A police source on Thursday morning told The Wave that the bomb was “inert,” which could mean that it lacked a charge or that the activating pin was inoperative.

Detectives from the 100 Detective Squad are investigating.

Rumors swept the building for several hours during and after the scare. One resident told The Wave that the grenade was part of a hostage attempt by a man to keep his girlfriend in the building, but police say that no such activity was in evidence.

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