Rawlings man arrested after 13-hour standoff

Jeffrey Lee Custer Sr.

RAWLINGS — A Rawlings man who allegedly threatened to blow up his residence when police attempted to arrest him Tuesday afternoon was arrested early Wednesday after a 13-hour standoff.

Maj. Randy Cutter of the Allegany County Sheriff's Office said the arrest of Jeffrey Lee Custer Sr. was made after police devised an unspecified plan to bring the siege to a successful conclusion — a half-day after deputies arrived to serve Custer with an arrest warrant charging him with felony offenses that included kidnapping, rape and assault.

It was shortly after 1 p.m. when deputies arrived at the residence on Blooming Fields Drive where Custer, 55, allegedly refused to open the door and made threats to blow up the dwelling while stating he was in possession of gasoline and propane tanks.

Police said Custer also threatened to cause damage to other residences, and allegedly claimed that he had poured gasoline into the sewer system.

Detecting the odor of gasoline while at the front entrance of the residence where windows and doors were boarded up with plywood, police evacuated the area and requested assistance of numerous agencies, including fire and rescue volunteer units.

A command post was established at the Rawlings Volunteer Fire Department after a perimeter was set up around the Custer property.

Throughout the incident, a police negotiation team reportedly attempted to convince Custer to surrender. County personnel also arrived in the area to flush the sewer system near the suspect's residence.

Custer remained jailed late Wednesday morning at the Allegany County Detention Center awaiting appearance before a district court commissioner.

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