Keener vehicle removal

Abandoned vehicles are removed Tuesday from a public parking lot near the historic Jackson County Courthouse.

By Dave Russell

 

What started as Sylva police removing two derelict vehicles Tuesday became a bomb scare involving the State Bureau of Investigation.

The vehicles belonged to Marty Galik, whose house at 271 Keener St. burned in October. Town officials last week sent Galik a letter demanding a Toyota truck and work van in the county-owned lot between the house and historic Courthouse be moved.

Galik did not comply, leading Assistant Chief Rick Bryson and Lt. Detective Aimee Watson to visit the property and summon a towing company, according to a release from Watson.

“As officers were waiting on the tow company to arrive, a suspicious device was located on one of the vehicles,” the release stated. “The area was taped off and part of Ridgeway Street was shut down, from the library to Beacon Street.”

The SBI was contacted. The agency sent bomb technicians to the scene.

Galik returned to the residence and spoke with the SBI agents. The device was determined to be safe and the vehicles were towed, the release stated.

Lt. Rollie James with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Jackson County Emergency Management Director Todd Dillard and Fire Marshal Michael Forbis were also on scene.

Galik received a citation last week for piling construction debris in the lot. It remained there as of Tuesday afternoon.