COLUMBIA — Police took two men into custody after five hours, during which time a SWAT team surrounded the apartment they were in on the 2500 block of Quail Drive on Wednesday. They were being questioned Wednesday evening at the Columbia Police Department, according to a news release.
At around 5 a.m., police responded to a suspicious vehicle call at Sylvan Road and Whitegate Drive. The caller said he had seen two men try to break into his car and leave in a Chrysler 300. Officers found the car behind a duplex on Quail Drive. Police then discovered the car had been stolen and inside the Chrysler found items that had been reported stolen earlier from a car on Garnet Drive. The same model of car had been pursued shortly by police at 12:30 that morning because it was speeding and following another car too closely, according to the release.
Acccording to the news release, fresh footsteps in the snow leading into the house, but not out, led police to believe the men were in the house. They were not able to get anyone to come to the door and called the situation a Code Red at around 10:30 a.m., calling in members of the SWAT team and crisis negotiators.
SWAT teams first sent in a robot equipped with a camera to survey the house. At 1 p.m., O.C. gas, commonly known as pepper spray, was introduced into the apartment, and a 28-year-old male emerged. The other man stayed inside until five or six SWAT team members went into the house, at around 3 p.m. and took him into custody, the news release stated.
Jessie Haden, public information officer for Columbia police, said the apartment was believed to be the residence of a relative or acquaintance of the suspects.