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Archive for Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Explosives found in truck parked near Statehouse

In events police say are unrelated, one man arrested for allegedly making threatening call to governor’s office, owner of suspicious truck arrested

Police block the area where a suspicious vehicle is parked on the west side of the Kansas Judicial Center, across the street from the statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Police say a man is being questioned in Topeka after allegedly phoning in a threat against the Kansas governor's office. Capitol police spokesman Patrick Saleh says another man is being questioned Wednesday afternoon about a suspicious vehicle parked near the Statehouse. The Topeka Capital-Journal report the two events don't appear to be related.

Police block the area where a suspicious vehicle is parked on the west side of the Kansas Judicial Center, across the street from the statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Police say a man is being questioned in Topeka after allegedly phoning in a threat against the Kansas governor's office. Capitol police spokesman Patrick Saleh says another man is being questioned Wednesday afternoon about a suspicious vehicle parked near the Statehouse. The Topeka Capital-Journal report the two events don't appear to be related.

February 15, 2012, 12:57 p.m. Updated February 16, 2012, 12:28 a.m.

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Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a bomb threat, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 in Topeka, Kan. Police say a man is being questioned in Topeka after allegedly phoning in a threat against the Kansas governor's office. Capitol police spokesman Patrick Saleh says another man is being questioned Wednesday afternoon about a suspicious vehicle parked near the Statehouse. The Topeka Capital-Journal report the two events don't appear to be related.

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a bomb threat, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 in Topeka, Kan. Police say a man is being questioned in Topeka after allegedly phoning in a threat against the Kansas governor's office. Capitol police spokesman Patrick Saleh says another man is being questioned Wednesday afternoon about a suspicious vehicle parked near the Statehouse. The Topeka Capital-Journal report the two events don't appear to be related.

— Several homemade bombs were found Wednesday in a pickup truck parked near the Kansas Statehouse that had specialty license plates issued only to U.S. military paratroopers, and police said they arrested the owner inside an underground tunnel connecting the Capitol to an office building.

Capitol Police spokesman Patrick Saleh said the incident was not connected to another arrest Wednesday of a man who allegedly phoned in a threat to Gov. Sam Brownback’s office from a Topeka motel.

“Neither one of them was armed, and neither of them offered any resistance,” Saleh said.

Saleh said officers went to investigate the pickup after receiving a call from a state employee about it being parked in a restricted lot outside the Kansas Judicial Center, south of the Statehouse, without the normal state worker tag. An officer saw suspicious objects inside, including an empty gun holster, and authorities called in the Topeka Police Department’s bomb squad.

Saleh said the homemade explosives were made with household materials and designed to spray shrapnel once they were detonated. He didn’t have further details but called them “actual explosives.”

But, he added, “Everybody in the building was safe.”

Officers arrested the pickup’s owner inside the tunnel used by legislators, state officials, lobbyists and citizens to go between the Statehouse and a building that houses state agencies and legislators’ offices and where legislative committee meetings are held. Saleh said the man claimed to have an appointment in the office building, but none was verified. Saleh didn’t have information about the man’s identity.

The man was being questioned by agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, Saleh said.

The discovery of the pickup truck led authorities to temporarily block traffic and access to the parking lot. The black Ford with no hood and a beat-up front grill, remained in the Judicial Center parking lot Wednesday afternoon, set off by a police car and orange cones.

The truck had a specialty Florida license plate issued only to qualified U.S. military paratroopers. It also had a special forces sticker on its bumper and stickers on its back window saying, “Welcome to America. Now speak English” and “Does my American flag offend you? Call 1 800 LEAVE THE USA.” The gate of the pickup bed also had a decal from a dealership in Ocala, Fla.

The Associated Press attempted to check the license plate number with the Florida Highway Patrol, but officials declined to provide information about the vehicle’s owner.

“We would not be able to release that because of an ongoing investigation they’ve got going on out there,” Lt. Jeff Frost said.

The pickup incident and the phoned-in threat to Brownback’s office came the same day a Kansas House committee opened three days of hearings on several bills designed to crack down on illegal immigration, backed by Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a former law professor who helped draft tough laws in Alabama and Arizona.

But Saleh said neither arrest was connected to a coinciding rally at the Statehouse that was protesting policies pursued by Brownback, Kobach and other Republican officials.

The other man was arrested at a Motel 6 in Topeka within minutes of making calls to Brownback’s office Wednesday morning and is being held in the local jail on suspicion of harassment by telephone, Saleh said. He is 37 and has no permanent address, but his last known home was Columbia, Mo.

Saleh said the man told officers he was planning to move to Salina, about 100 miles west of Topeka, but authorities couldn’t find an address for him there.

Saleh said the governor’s office pinpointed his location through caller ID. He described the man as “ranting” but said his comments were threatening enough for Brownback’s staff to call authorities.

The governor’s office referred calls about the incident to the Kansas Highway Patrol, which oversees the Capitol Police.

Comments

tomatogrower 2 years, 2 months ago

Anti-immigrant? From Florida? He was just applying for a job in Brownback's administration. Yet, now no one will claim he had an appointment with them.

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Matt Needham 2 years, 2 months ago

Crazy and dangerous is the enemy of all law abiding citizens who ever you vote for. If we keep escalating the rhetoric and political drama with the "reds are nazis" and "blues are commies" BS you can be sure we will all be in more danger from the "kill 'em all" nut jobs.

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JackMcKee 2 years, 2 months ago

Florida license tags. Interesting.

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Thekudude 2 years, 2 months ago

This guy made some bombs and was scoping out the tunnel for time and location to plant them. Pretty scary. There are so many people out there that are paranoid and miserable. And there are so many people out there that justs keep on bullying through life without a care for anyone or anything. That is what instigates the miserable folks to do something crazy. They have nothing to lose and they have to do something bold and crazy to get the attention.

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remember_username 2 years, 2 months ago

As the incidents were unrelated must we assume the owner of the pick-up truck was posing a threat to the governors office? It doesn't sound like a liberal from the description of the truck, perhaps it was just another of the governor's new-hires from Florida? You know...for the new Kansas Department of Homeland-on-the-Range Security.

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geekin_topekan 2 years, 2 months ago

Insert the word Embassy for Statehouse and this sounds like a headline from one of the "-stans" in the middle east! BBackistan? how eerie is that?

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jayhawklawrence 2 years, 2 months ago

These two guys most likely are mental health patients who cannot get proper treatment because of a lack of funding for mental health services.

"For the first time in more than three decades, mental health funding is declining. The drop-off is translating into a reduction in the number of psychiatric hospital beds, as well as fewer services for mental health emergencies and longer waiting lists for housing for the chronically mentally ill. The cuts are coming just as some experts say economic pressures are creating an increase in mental illness."

http://www.stateline.org/live/details/story?contentId=499181

These incidents may be a result of mental illness, however, we are a society that is too quick to politicize everything at the expense of rational thought.

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Cait McKnelly 2 years, 2 months ago

So, has anybody determined yet if this a ticked off liberal or a ticked off secessionist/Libertarian?

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Gandalf 2 years, 2 months ago

I'd like an unbiased description of the IED's. Even a homemade firecracker can be considered a bomb.

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Bob_Keeshan 2 years, 2 months ago

I can't believe the right wing isn't up in arms over this.

Officers were suspicious of the vehicle due to a visible gun holster.

So much for the 2nd amendment...

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Liberty275 2 years, 2 months ago

The left is breeding a new klan of weather undergrounders. Hopefully the lot will have enough sense to stay off my lawn.

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beatrice 2 years, 2 months ago

Unbelievable. I'm glad nobody was hurt.

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Boston_Corbett 2 years, 2 months ago

Lets buy several more all-terrain attack vehicles, with bomb robots, and mandate concealed carry permits for everyone in the capitol.

That is the only possible way in this world we can be safe, I have read here.

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kernal 2 years, 2 months ago

I don't know about that reference to the color of Topekans necks but, those commenters over there got nothing on ours for the gift of wit.

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Shane Garrett 2 years, 2 months ago

Wait, what? Did someone just insinuate that Topeka necks are a darker shade of red?

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UNIKU 2 years, 2 months ago

Hmmm...was Brownback ever a law enforcement officer?.....

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jehovah_bob 2 years, 2 months ago

Why phone in a threat when you could just #heblowsalot?

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Number_1_Grandma 2 years, 2 months ago

One fanatic trying to take out a religious fanatic.....great. Now, we have to worry about more harm coming to Kansans thanks to Brownback.

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Gotland 2 years, 2 months ago

One person’s terrorist is another’s progressive.

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 2 months ago

Which disappointed progressive went off the track? Could it be a poster from this award-winning website?

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Ragingbear 2 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, that vehicle was full of homemade bombs. Take a look at a Topeka paper website.

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Steve Jacob 2 years, 2 months ago

Feel bad for the guy who was just parked is car and because some dumb guy called in a threat, he's is being grilled by police.

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Milton Bland 2 years, 2 months ago

Brownback may not be a very good governor, but the State is a lot better off with him in office than it was with Sebelius. She is diabolical and position in the Obama administration she is determined to undermine the constitution with her anti-religion policies. Those who have worked for her hate the woman. She is insincere and mean-spirited. Yet I know of no threats to her life. I guess the Republicans just stand a higher ground than the Democrats.

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somedude20 2 years, 2 months ago

It was a female who called and her threat was that she was going to think for herself and do what she wants with her reproductive system. Oh, she also told him that there is no such thing as "god" and to grow up and more on to another fairy tale

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 2 months ago

Brownback has messed up a lot of lives by not stopping the Bush/Cheney home loan fraudulent activities that his president was pulling off.

His defunding activity is further ruining lives by way of creating unemployment and the laying off of sooooooo many state workers.

Sam Brownback should not be surprised. His ruthless behavior is reckless and irresponsible.

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Tanner Stumbaugh 2 years, 2 months ago

What good did this person's threat do? As far as I can see, no progress was made, but a publicity stunt.... boring!! Yeah, a lot of people are upset with the Governor... but does it do any good to make threats? NO. He may have had a better outcome if he were to write a letter explaining his disregard for the governor's office's service.

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hyperinflate 2 years, 2 months ago

Here, let me save a lot of effort for the haters:

"arrested a man after he made a call from a Topeka motel that was considered threatening to the governor's office."

I'm sure he was a :

1.) Obama lover 2.) Muslim 3.) Liberal 4.) Person of a colored persuasion 5.) Lazy, good-for-nothing, no-tax paying leech

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thebigspoon 2 years, 2 months ago

Probably threatened not to vote for Sam next time.

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