After blowing up a suspicious-looking device found attached to a rental truck, Pasadena police on Monday arrested a man upon finding drugs, not explosives.
The incident began at about 6 p.m. on Monday when officers responded to a call about a suspicious device attached to a U-Haul truck parked on South Raymond Avenue, just north of California Boulevard.
After surrounding the vehicle, police, firefighters and explosives experts with the Sheriff’s Department agreed that the device looked like a pipe bomb and evacuated the area.
Local radio station KPCC 89.3 FM, which is located on South Raymond, was shut down during the incident. The threat also disrupted service on Metro’s Gold Line, which runs parallel to South Raymond.
The device was detonated by a robot shortly after 9 p.m., three hours after the evacuations began.
Buses replaced train service between the Lake Avenue Station and South Pasadena while authorities worked to deal with the device. In the end, the device turned out to be a hiding place for illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia.
According to Pasadena police spokesperson Lt. Jason Clawson, Theodore Bancarz of Glendale was taken into custody late last night and released after receiving a citation.
The 34-year old Bancarz told police that the device, which was attached to the truck by magnets, was used to hide and transport methamphetamines and syringes. According to Clawson, unless a suspect possesses drugs for sale or is caught selling drugs he can only be charged with a misdemeanor. Bancarz only possessed a small amount of drugs.
According to Clawson, a second container with drugs and other paraphernalia was discovered after police searched Bancarz’s home in Glendale.
Bancarz was arrested on suspicion of drug violations and released after being cited by police. He is due in court on Jan. 29.
“We thank our neighboring public safety jurisdictions for their prompt assistance in this matter, along with cooperation of the public,” said Interim Pasadena Police Chief John Perez. Perez said Pasadena police were aware of the bombs sent through the mail to CNN and prominent Democrats, including Barack and Michelle Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton. But local authorities remained focused on the situation at hand.
“Out of an abundance of caution we took appropriate measures to make sure public safety remained a top priority. Hopefully this quick arrest helps ease any concerns,” Perez told the Pasadena Weekly.
At a press conference Monday night, after it was determined that the device was not a bomb, Perez said, “We treat each situation with the facts that we have. And this one is being dealt with, with exactly what we are looking at.”