Police Detonate Explosives Found in Locker, Rock Neighborhood

Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles police detonated a large quantity of explosives in the Sepulveda Flood Control Basin on Wednesday afternoon after removing them from a storage locker, a police spokesman said.

The series of detonations in Encino prompted dozens of calls to police. Callers likened the sound to sonic booms and earthquakes.

The five or more explosions could be heard more than a mile away, residents said.

Police declined to identify the explosives, or specify the amount found beyond terming it a "very large quantity." They also did not name the person who rented the locker or say whether an arrest had been made.

The explosives were discovered when a rented storage locker on the 5800 block of Peach Avenue near Hatteras Street in Van Nuys was opened because of non-payment of rent, Los Angeles Police Lt. Dan Cooke said. Police were called to the scene about 1 p.m. and confiscated the explosives, Cooke said.

Old Cornfield Used

They were taken to the flood control basin and placed in the middle of an old cornfield near the intersection of Woodley Avenue and Burbank Boulevard.

One observer said the detonations sent tan smoke 100 feet in the air.

Van Nuys resident Howard Pelta, who lives a mile away near the intersection of Victory Boulevard and Woodley Avenue, said the explosions rocked his house.

"It sounds like a truck just landed on my roof," he said. "The windows in my house just felt like they were going to pop out."

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