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Police: Man Targets Black Muslim Women With Slurs In Lot

EDITOR'S NOTE: An attorney for Hovsep Avesyan confirmed to CBS3 his client successfully completed a pre-trial diversion program, meaning his record is now clear of all charges stemming from a November 2016 incident where Upper Darby Township Police filed ethnic intimidation charges. Records provided to CBS3 show the courts accepted Avesyan into the program in May of 2017, and the case was expunged in May of last year.

UPPER DARBY, Pa. (CBS) — An arsenal of fully loaded weapons, bulletproof vests and smoke grenades are now in Upper Darby Police custody.

And Hovsep Avesyan, the owner of all of the weapons is charged with ethnic intimidation.

The story began last week in a convenience store parking lot along Baltimore Avenue in Upper Darby Township with a dispute at a gas pump. Police say Avesyan had words with two Muslim women.

"This whacko makes the statement,  'Go, back to Africa,' and he intimidates and threatens these two women for no apparent reason," Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said.

Investigators say the incident escalated when Avesyan lifted his shirt to reveal a handgun. The women, who had a child with them, felt threatened, according to detectives.

"They were so frightened, that they removed their head scarves," Chitwood said.

Avesyan has a concealed carry permit, according to police. He eventually drove off.

The women, investigators say, wrote down his license plate number. Officers then tracked him down and placed him under arrest.

Police say they obtained search warrants for Avesyan's parent's home in Media and the 2014 Mercedes sedan he was driving.

"I can't tell you how many rounds of ammunition. He has two lock boxes, one under the front seat," Chitwood said.

Stowed away in the trunk, police say a second box containing nearly 400 rounds was discovered.

At his parent's Media home on Paxon Hollow Road, investigators say there was a gun safe in the basement.

Police say Avesyan, who was sitting in jail, wouldn't give up the combination. Family had arranged the posting of 10 percent of his $250,000 bail, but investigators say Avesyan's resistance to turn over the weapons in the safe would be a bail violation.

After a day of back and forth, police retrieved the password and say they found five long guns, 16 handguns, thousands of rounds of ammunition, bulletproof vests and smoke grenades. They also located $5000 dollars and a glock in Avesyan's bedroom.

Avesyan was scheduled to be released from prison on Monday evening, according to a spokeswoman for Delaware County.

Police say Avesyan is not on any law enforcement "watch list," but add the presence of the amount of weapons is concerning.

"Even if it's legit, it's still a concern.

And right now we have it all," Chitwood said.

"And until a judge orders me to give it back to him, I'm not giving it back to him. Period."

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