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August 10, 2004
Local Terrorism

The big news around here:

Pipe Bomb Find Leads To Dozens Of Charges Against Fuquay-Varina Teen

Egads. Fuquay-Varina is only two towns away from here.

FUQUAY-VARINA, N.C. -- The search for a vehicle involved in a hit-and-run incident turned up something far more disturbing Monday. Police say a teenager involved in the accident had more than a dozen pipe bombs.

Now, a major investigation is under way that spans from Apex to Cary to Fuquay-Varina and involves the FBI and the Raleigh Bomb Squad.

Cary police are handling the investigation because it all started with a hit-and-run at 12:34 p.m. at Waverly Place in Cary.

Cary, Apex, and Fuquay-Varina are all in the western/southwestern suburbs of Raleigh. As I think I've noted in the past, I live in Apex.

In a parking lot next to the Bright Horizons Family Solutions day-care center, the hit-and-run suspect quickly became a serious threat.

The driver, 17-year-old Jarrett Brown, was pulled over by an Apex police officer who noticed something unusual in the back seat of the car.

"He spotted what appeared to be some type of explosive device," said Capt. Dave Wulff of the Cary Police Department.

Note that it was an alert police officer that spotted this. Kudos to that officer, but let's face it: it was a matter of luck. If the kid hadn't been stupid, he might not have been caught.

Inside the vehicle, the officer found six pipe bombs that were all less than 6 inches long.

That is when officers ordered Jennie Sykes to evacuate her day-care center.

"A lot of children were in the building, about 75 to 80 children, so it was a big responsibility to get them across the street," said Jennie Sykes of Bright Horizons Family Solutions.

The Raleigh Bomb Squad wrapped the explosives in blankets, put them in their bomb disposal unit and hauled them away.

The investigation led officers to the teen's home on Poplar Ridge Road in Fuquay-Varina. Inside, they found 12 more pipe bombs.

"We do have chemicals that we're concerned about," said Chief Jerry Phillips of the Fuquay-Varina Police Department.

As a precaution, police evacuated eight residences in the cul-de-sac.

Brown, a rising senior at Apex High School, is charged with 24 counts of possessing weapons of mass destruction and a hit-and-run charge.

The Fuquay-Varina police chief says Brown's parents did not seem to know about the chemicals in their son's room.

"I spoke to them briefly and they came across as good people." Phillips said. "I don't know, you don't know what your children do sometimes. You hope they don't get into trouble, but sometimes they do."

Brown is scheduled to make his first appearance Tuesday.

I don't know what this guy had going on in his head. Maybe he was going to do some creative fishing at Jordan Lake just a few miles west of here. Maybe he simply shared the fascination many teenage boys have with blowing things up.

Or maybe he had a score to settle. Was he bullied in school? Was he affiliated with eco-terrorists? It's too soon to know anything yet.

In a post-Columbine, post-9/11 world, no one with half a brain in their head is going to fiddle around with illegal home-made explosives just for fun. This guy is either exceptionally stupid (unlikely, since it takes a certain amount of brainpower to build pipebombs without killing yourself) or had a motive to use the aforementioned pipebombs.

Odds are, this kid is going down. Hard.

Posted by Russ at 03:37 PM, August 10, 2004 in North Carolina

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