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NYPD: Midtown hotel employee sickened after cleaning powdery substance

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NEW YORK — Police are looking for a man accused of sneaking into a luxury hotel room in Midtown, spending the night and leaving behind a suspicious powder.

It happened at the Park Hyatt on West 57th Street near Seventh Avenue.

The NYPD says around 1:20 pm Tuesday, a female employee at the hotel began to feel nauseous and dizzy shortly after cleaning a room. She said there had been traces of a white powdery substance on the bathroom sink.

As CBS2’s Tim McNicholas reports, the FDNY swapped the room and their initial test showed a trace of a possible explosive substance. That prompted a massive police response, including the NYPD bomb squad and the FBI, but further tests showed no hazardous material, leading police to believe the first test was likely a false positive.

Police say using video surveillance, they have been able to identify a man who gained access to the room, which was vacant, Monday night and left around 10:30 am Tuesday. They believe a previous occupant of the room lost a key, which the man then found.

“As far as we know, it should have been deactivated after the family checked out, so they’re still working on why it wasn’t,” said NYPD Assistant Chief James McCarthy.

Watch: NYPD briefing on suspicious powder at Midtown hotel


NYPD briefing on suspicious powder at Midtown hotel

05:11

The NYPD says the person of interest is known to the police and has been arrested 16 times for low-level crimes. They also say he has trespassed at other hotels. The person of interest has not been located.

Because the hotel employee had cleaned the powdery substance in the bathroom, police say they have been unable to identify what the substance may have been.

Police say there is no threat to the public at this time and they are continuing to search for the person of interest.

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