VANDALIA, Ill. – Just after 5 a.m. Tuesday, residents reported seeing agents swarm a property where an 82-year-old Fayette County man runs a military surplus business.
Dozens of federal agents arrived in military vehicles, flatbeds, and cranes. They were looking through storage containers and seizing boxes inside. At one point, agents picked up an entire storage container with a crane and loaded it onto a flat-bed truck.
It was such an unusual sight, many neighbors like Kathy Runge stopped to take a look.
“There’s military down here armed and ready to go. You can see they’re loading some (vehicles) up right now,” she said.
Agents from the US Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and ATF were on-hand, with the Illinois State Police providing additional support.
They had converged on Bob Hanabarger’s house. Neighbors said he’s bought and sold military surplus for decades.
Runge said she’s been to a rummage sale on the property.
“I’ve never seen any kind of ammunition. I’ve never seen any kind of guns. He’s a real nice guy,” she said.
Relatives said they weren’t allowed on the property.
One of Hanabarger’s grandsons said the family sells military surplus, ranging from uniforms to canteens, at rummage sales and online through a business called Wildlands Outdoor Equipment.
The grandson said they’re not selling guns, but reported that two men recently knocked on the door asking if they had gun parts or body armor. Hanabarger reportedly said “no” and showed them inside a storage container. But now they’re wondering if there’s a connection between those men and Tuesday’s raid.
Meanwhile, the US Attorney’s Office had no comment about the raid and investigation.