The scene at the 6600 block of Lyman Avenue in Hammond on Saturday.

HAMMOND — Homes along a stretch of Lyman Avenue were briefly evacuated Saturday as a precautionary measure while the Porter County Bomb Squad unit conducted a search of a suspicious vehicle in the area. 

Police were called about 12:30 p.m. Saturday to the 6600 block of Lyman Avenue in Hammond for a report of a suspicious driver. He was holding some type of rag over his face, according to reports to police. 

A strong chemical odor was present when police stopped him a short time later. A search of the vehicle yielded the discovery of a cache of illegal fireworks and drugs, police said. A piece of steel pipe also was found in the vehicle. 

A 49-year-old Valparaiso man was taken into custody for probable cause for a hoax device, and more charges may be added later, Hammond Police Lt. Richard Hoyda said. 

His name is being withheld pending any formal charges being presented to the prosecutor's office, Hoyda added. 

Despite rumors in the neighborhood to the contrary, no bomb threat was made, according to Hoyda. No one was injured. 

The residence where the vehicle was stopped and six neighboring homes were evacuated as a precaution, according to Hoyda. The scene was being cleared as of 4:15 p.m. 

A woman who lives on that block and had asked not to be identified said a vehicle in her driveway was being investigated.

The woman said she was sleeping when police came to her door around 1 p.m. and told her and her son they had to evacuate because of the potential threat.


Northlake County Reporter

Lauren covers North Lake County government, breaking news, crime and environmental issues for The Times. She previously worked at The Herald-News in Joliet. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting.