LAWRENCEBURG, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Lawrenceburg convenience store was evacuated after volatile chemicals were discovered in the public restroom.
It happened this past weekend at the Handy Andy Market on North Locust Avenue. Nobody was hurt and the store was quickly reopened when the chemicals were contained.
But drug agents say the public could have been in danger, telling News 2 that meth production using store bought chemicals is making resurgence—and that’s what was found in the bathroom.
Co-owner of Handy Andy Sanjay Patel told News 2 he had no idea a couple was hiding the materials in his bathroom. The thought angers him.
Agents found drain cleaner, lighter fluid, lye, and lithium batteries in a wrapper hidden in the trash can.
Authorities say these chemicals are commonly used to manufacture methamphetamines.
Blake Grooms / Lawrenceburg PD
“My investigation further produced there was a meth lab in a public restroom,” Blake Grooms with Lawrenceburg police said.
News 2 obtained store surveillance that reportedly shows Matthew Davis, 38, go into the bathroom, followed by his associate Amanda Foor, 34, moments later.
She is seen carrying a large backpack that drug agents say contained the chemicals. Grooms says the couple purchased them earlier in the day at a local Walmart.
Surveillance from Walmart shows them walk into the store like a normal couple to buy some of those ingredients.
“Instead of them taking it back home with them, they endangered the public putting it in a public bathroom. In an attempt to keep from getting caught with everything, they put our public at risk,” Grooms told News 2.
Drug agents say many people used the bathroom shortly after the chemicals were stashed, including a young child.
“A small child could have easily gotten into the garbage, opened up that sulfuric acid, and next thing you know, that child is damaged for life,” Grooms explained.
Grooms says he found receipts in their possession for meth components they didn’t have. He then traced their movements to Handy Andy’s and found the materials in the trash.
Recognizing the potential danger, the store was evacuated while the chemicals were removed by officials in protective gear. They then tested for any problems.
The threat was minimized after an hour and the store reopened. The couple was also arrested on meth-related charges.
News 2 is told the DA is considering other charges of putting the public at risk.
Lawrenceburg drug agents also said the city has one of the highest rates of meth production in the state.