Crime

Underground Meth Lab Discovered Beneath Walmart Parking Lot

| by Michael Howard
Authorities investigate a possible meth lab in Walmart's parking lotAuthorities investigate a possible meth lab in Walmart's parking lot

Police in western New York found what appears to be an underground meth lab below a Walmart parking lot on Aug. 8.

Evidence was found in a small tunnel that is reportedly tall enough to stand up in. The tunnel was not secured, meaning it could be accessed by anyone.

"[We found a] spray paint can, some various chemicals, a liquid we believe is methamphetamine," Captain Scott Chamberlin of the Amherst Police told WIVB.

He said the tunnel was checked randomly and that the officers had not received any tip.

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"Routine patrol, that's what we do every day," he said. "We check in various areas that people who might be up to no good, might be using for no good."

Walmart shoppers watched as men in hazmat suits climbed down into a manhole. The evidence was examined in the parking lot before being put into buckets for further testing.

"I seen men suited up, and I didn't know if somebody got hurt. ... And then I was talking to somebody and they said it was a meth lab," Marie Jamieson told WGRZ. "I'm like, 'A meth lab? In Walmart's parking lot?' You know, that's crazy."

Some shoppers were worried that they were being exposed to hazardous chemicals.

"I mean, are we breathing in all this meth as we stand here?" Dawn Clowen said.

Police responded to those concerns by stating that shoppers were not in any danger.

"Once they went in there and saw what they needed to see, obviously we determined that it wasn't, or they determined, that it wasn't a hazard," Chamberlin said.

Local resident Steve Harding said he was shocked when he heard the news.

"It's a concern, I mean it's unbelievable in this area," he told WIVB. "This isn't a bad area. This isn't the kind of thing you'd expect in a place like this, that's the bottom line."

Captain Chamberlin echoed that sentiment, but said no area is immune from this kind of activity.

"It happens all over the country," he told WGRZ. "All over the state. It's out of the ordinary for Amherst. Has it happened before? Yes."

Investigators hope surveillance footage from the parking lot will help them identify the suspects, according to WGRZ. 

Sources: WGRZ, WIVB / Photo Credit: WGRZ

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