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No Hazard Found in Suspicious Vehicle at Capitol

The scene outside the Capitol. (Bridget Bowman/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Police investigated a suspicious vehicle outside the Capitol for more than an hour Thursday night, though nothing hazardous was found.  

A source with knowledge of the investigation told CQ Roll Call there appeared to be a pressure cooker inside the vehicle, which was located on the West Front of the Capitol.  A Capitol Police spokeswoman did not acknowledge the pressure cooker, but said in a statement sent just after 6:30 p.m. that the owner of the vehicle "is in the food service industry."  

Officers were spotted heading to the scene just before 5 p.m. Thursday. The vehicle was located in the 200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, which is an area between First and Third Streets that is adjacent to the Capitol Reflecting Pool and includes a number of parking spaces.  

"From a review of footage … the vehicle was parked in a spot, then apparently rolled across to another parking space — only it’s perpendicular to the other parking lines. Looks awkward," Capt. Kimberly A. Schneider said in a statement.  

Schneider said that "out of an abundance of caution" the Capitol Police bomb squad approached the vehicle, but nothing hazardous was found. Schneider did not respond to an inquiry about whether the vehicle was returned to its owner.  

The investigation resembled an incident that occurred on Memorial Day, when officers found a pressure cooker in a suspicious vehicle. That day, thousands were on the grounds for the annual Memorial Day concert, so officers safely exploded the pressure cooker out of an abundance of caution. Police later identified the owner of the vehicle as Israel Sean Shimlis of Virginia who used the pressure cooker for his food truck .  

Shimlis was arrested for a traffic violation, though the charges were later dropped. But in July, he told CQ Roll Call he wanted the Capitol Police to help cover the cost of the pressure and propane tank that were destroyed, as well as damage to his automobile. At the time he said police had not responded to his request.

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