Man arrested after suspcious substance destroys rental car
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -
At 8:28 p.m. on Friday, September 6, Cleveland Police along with the FBI, Hazmat crew and special agents responded to Enterprise Rent-A-Car, a car rental business near the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, for a suspicious substance found in a vehicle.
Police say an employee found the substance inside a recently returned 4-door black Chevrolet Impala.
The white powdery substance was seen in both the backseat and trunk of the car.
Officers discovered that the interior trim and spare tire were missing and a hole had been burned through the trunk floor.
The man who returned the car was seen walking near-by and he was immediately taken off of a shuttle bus and into police custody.
The suspect, identified as Christopher E. Frank, told police that he and his girlfriend went to an abandoned building on E. 71th Street and removed five glass bottles; three of which contained liquid, one was labeled hydrogen chloride.
According to Frank, he placed the bottles in the trunk of the car and went to a restaurant to eat. Frank says that after his meal he smelled a strong odor that made it hard for him to breathe.
Frank says that he then noticed two of the bottles in the trunk had broken and a liquid had spilled.
Frank claims that he went a car wash and sprayed water into the trunk, and after doing so, a bubbling and hissing reaction created an irritating vapor.
Officers say that Frank says he had called a friend about his dilemma and he was told to apply baking soda to the liquid.
Frank said he and his girlfriend discarded the bottles, interior parts and spare tire into a dumpster, and applied baking soda to the backseat and trunk of the car, before checking it back in with Enterprise.
The Hazmat unit declared the substances neutralized and the vehicle was returned to Enterprise but was considered a total loss.
Frank was taken to the hospital and was treated for respiratory irritation and discoloration of his hands before being booked on a vandalism charge.
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