Rawlings man arrested following standoff

Staff Writer
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Jeffrey Lee Custer Sr.

RAWLINGS — A Rawlings man was arrested early Wednesday following a 13-hour standoff at his home on Blooming Fields Drive in Rawlings.

According to reports, Jeffrey Lee Custer Sr., 55, allegedly threatened to blow up his residence when police attempted to arrest him Tuesday afternoon.

A spokesperson for the Allegany County Sheriff's Office said Custer was arrested after police devised a 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.

Deputies said when they arrived at the residence where Custer allegedly refused to open the door, he made threats to blow up the dwelling, saying 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 remains incarcerated in the Allegany County Detention Center on charges of kidnapping, second degree rape, reckless endangerment, false imprisonment, second degree assault, third degree sex offense, threat of arson and first degree assault.