The discovery Sunday afternoon of biohazardous materials in a lot near a playground on Gibson Road is being investigated by Athens Police and other authorities.

Five white “sharps containers,” used to store used medical needles for disposal, are thought to have been taken during a burglary at a medical office building four months ago.

According to APD reports, the property owner contacted police shortly after 4 p.m. and said he found hazardous materials. Police contacted the Athens Fire Department, which also went to the site to investigate the find.

Representatives of East Texas Medical Center also joined in searching about half an acre, which included a playground at the Fairview Apartments. Workers raked through piles of leaves at the park looking for any additional loose needles.

Monday, ETMC issued a statement concerning the find.

“ETMC will continue to work with the Athens Police Department throughout their investigation, and is conducting a search of the site to ensure that more sharps containers and their contents that are found will receive proper disposal.”

The materials collected in Monday’s search have already been retrieved by ETMC and disposed of.

Charles Tidmore, owner of the Fairview Apartments, said he is co-operating with ETMC in the clean-up of the area. He said it’s easy to see how the needles might have been overlooked in the dead leaves that have covered the area since the November burglary.

The investigation into the November burglary and Sunday’s discovery is ongoing.

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