Dozens of firearms found in Lehigh Valley storage facility

Friday, June 22, 2018
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Dozens of firearms found in Lehigh Valley storage facility. John Rawlins reports during Action News at 5 p.m. on June 21, 2018.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (WPVI) -- Authorities were called early Wednesday evening for possible explosive devices inside a Lehigh Valley self-storage facility. However, police found dozens of firearms in the unit and no significant explosives were found.

Police say several rifles and pistols, and many with no serial numbers were found in the 1000 block of Hellertown Road as a bomb squad and ATF units scoured a storage locker at Dreamer's Self-Storage.

They say 23-year-old Matthew Colabella recently rented unit 85-A at the self-storage.

The local bomb squad deployed a robot as a precaution.

Bethlehem Twp Police Captain Gregory Gottschall said, "There were approximately 50 firearms of very sizes, rifles, calibers, long guns, and handguns."

Police say it started with an eBay purchase of a part of a Glock handgun called a slide from a California seller, apparently, the Bethlehem buyer didn't pay, and the Californian contacted police.

"We were alerted to this online sale of gun parts to an individual in our jurisdiction," said Gottschall.

Police say the eBay buyer was Colabella who is not supposed to have guns because he is a felon.

First police went to the defendant's family home on Nicholson Road where they allegedly found marijuana, steroids and a receipt for 1000 rounds of ammunition as well as parts of an AR-15.

They were told Colabella had recently moved his guns to the storage unit.

Colleen Miller, who owns the facility, was stunned to hear the news.

"I was shocked. I came down to my facility. The police officers advised me to go to the police station immediately. They told me a customer that is storing within my storage facility has contents that are not acceptable," Miller said.

As the bomb squad investigated, nearby homes were promptly evacuated. Even employees at a nearby Chevy dealership were told to leave.

"Officer pulls up, says 'we have multiple pipe bombs at the storage facility next door,' asked us to block off some of the lot to make sure people stay out of the area," employee Anthony Luizza said.

Neighbors processed the allegations of the massive firepower.

"Not good, of course not good of course, not good. Nowhere and I don't have that in my neighborhood," said Maria Alves of Bethlehem Township.

Colabella is now facing numerous weapons charges. He was taken into custody in Wildwood, New Jersey Thursday night.


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