Police have arrested a Springfield man connected to a fake bomb scare earlier this month.
43-year-old Jesse Wade Powell was observed by employees at Professional Credit Service earlier in the week leading up to October 5, behaving suspiciously near their building as they arrived to work at 400 International Way. A device resembling a bomb was found left near a gas line later, prompting Springfield Police and a bomb squad from the Eugene Police Department to arrive and investigate. Nearly 200 employees were evacuated during the incident.
Ultimately, the device was found to be two road flares attached to a recording device. It was dismantled by a robot.
In addition to some of the calls made about Powell’s behavior, another employee took down his vehicle’s license plate number while another took a photo with his smart phone.
Investigators also reviewed video surveillance footage of Powell returning to the parking lot at night, placing the hoax bomb on the top of a structure where it was found by an employee a few days later. Powell’s Mercedes was left in the lot overnight.
Upon his arrest nearly two weeks after the fake bomb was found and dismantled, Powell told investigators he left the device after a dispute near Gateway’s Motel 6 the evening of October 2nd. Powell said his tires were slashed and – according to a Springfield Police release – he believed police were summoned.
SPD officials say Powell is a career criminal who knew he’d get into trouble for the hoax bomb. He says he “hastily” drove to International Way where he left the device on a rooftop so not to be caught with it. Police remain skeptical and are still investigating.
Anyone with further information on Powell, the hoax device, or how it may have been used for robberies or other unlawful behavior are encouraged to call SPD Detective Justin Myers at (541)726-3714. There’s also an anonymous tip line at (541)726-3773.
Powell is charged with First Degree Disorderly Conduct, as well as Unlawful Possession of a Hoax Destructive Device.
Authorities are praising the alertness demonstrated by employees at Professional Credit Service, calling it a model others should follow.
“This mystery would have never been solved had it not been for the diligence of these employees who not only discovered the device and directed a full-scale and orderly evacuation, but also later conducted their own investigation and put the pieces together,” says SPD Lieutenant Scott McKee.
Copyright 2017, KLCC.