CLEVELAND — Hazmat was called to a rental car facility near Cleveland Hopkins International Airport Friday evening after a suspicious substance was found in a rental car.
According to Cleveland police, an employee observed white powder in the backseat and truck of a returned rental car around 8:30 p.m. The interior trim and spare tire were missing and a hole had been burnt through the trunk floor.
An employee identified the man who returned the vehicle who was still walking nearby. The suspect, Christopher Frank, was found on a shuttle bus.
Frank told police he was with his girlfriend on Wednesday when they entered an abandoned building and removed 5 glass bottles, 3 of which contained liquid. One was labeled as hydrogen chloride. The bottles, along with some other items, were placed in the trunk of the rented vehicle.
Frank told police he later noticed a strong odor coming from the vehicle that made breathing difficult. He found two of the bottles containing liquid had spilled in the trunk.
The couple drove to a car wash and sprayed water in the trunk. A friend told Frank to apply baking soda. They then discarded the bottles, interior parts and a spare tire into a trash can.
According to police, the car is a total loss.
Frank was taken to the hospital for respiratory irritation and discoloration on his hand.
He’s charged with vandalism.