An elderly Caldwell man kept 35 police officers and a robot at bay for nine hours on Tuesday, March 14, with threats of burning his house down. According to police accounts of the crime in the Idaho Press-Tribune, officers were called at 9:30 p.m. to a home on the 2100 block of Rice Street in Caldwell, where they noticed a strong smell of gasoline. The lone man inside, a recently widowed 78-year-old, refused to leave the home and threatened to ignite both himself and the house.
Over the next several hours, police tried several methods to extricate the man from his den of despondency. First, telephone negotiations failed. Then Nampa police-who were present in support of a smattering of Caldwell police-sent in their prized bomb robot to provide a view of the inside of the home. Seeing nothing imminently dangerous, officers busted into the home at 5:30 a.m. and apprehended the man, who had fallen asleep. He was taken to a nearby hospital for a mental evaluation.