Criminal investigation underway at Old Saybrook Chemical Company: Police – NBC Connecticut


Several local and federal agencies are conducting an ongoing investigation at a business in Old Saybrook.

Investigators have been at the LabDirect at 6 Center Road since Wednesday afternoon, according to Police Chief Michael Spera. He said they were conducting a criminal investigation into the property.

Spera said there was no threat to the public.

The investigation concerns the chemicals present in the property, according to a source close to the investigation.

Other businesses in the area are closed pending the investigation, the source said.

State police said their bomb squad was on scene to assist the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms at the scene.

An ATF spokesperson told NBC Connecticut that their on-scene officers are investigating gun dealers and entities that sell chemicals that may be used in explosives.

An NBC Connecticut crew at the scene heard what appeared to be two controlled explosions on the property just before 9 a.m.

Center Road was closed for more than a day but reopened shortly before 4 p.m. Thursday.

LabDirect is a biochemical supplier that provides hard-to-find chemicals and reagents for independent researchers and chemists, according to the company’s website.

When reached for comment, LabDirect owner Richard Carboni said he could not provide any details of the investigation, but had addressed the ongoing situation.

“…we have always cooperated and are currently cooperating fully with all relevant authorities to try to resolve any issues, and that there is no danger to public safety,” Carboni said.

A chemist we spoke to said that many of the chemicals handled by the company are quite common.

“If I were a resident of Old Saybrook, I would much rather have to deal with the inconveniences, a few closed roads, lots of police around, than have an explosion in my backyard,” said the assistant professor of the Quinnipiac University of Chemistry Robert Hansen.

We asked Hansen to check out the company’s website.

“Nothing out of the ordinary. These are a lot of chemicals that I’ve worked with in my labs, both in research and in teaching,” he said.

Hansen says none of the chemicals on the company’s website can provide him with alarms, but he says safety is a priority when handling these chemicals for the company, transporting items and recipients.

“There are a lot of regulations around these chemicals and the fact that they are police, that shouldn’t be alarming. In fact, that should be really reassuring.

He says there are many safety procedures that need to be in place when handling these chemicals, just as they are in place at the lab where he teaches.

“They probably had a complaint or something and they immediately investigated, called the ATF, called the chemical safety experts. So that gives me a lot of confidence that they’re handling the situation well, and obviously they won’t give a lot of details. They don’t want to alarm the public. And so many people don’t know enough about these chemicals to be reassured, but they are common chemicals. The security experts are there. They know the dangers. They know how to handle them. It gives me confidence,” Hansen said.


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