Suspect Arrested in Colorado Mall Bomb CaseA man suspected of leaving a pipe bomb and two propane tanks at a Denver-area shopping mall was arrested Tuesday after being spotted drinking coffee at a supermarket about 30 miles away, authorities said.
By: P. Solomon Banda, Associated Press
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — A man suspected of leaving a pipe bomb and two propane tanks at a Denver-area shopping mall was arrested Tuesday after being spotted drinking coffee at a supermarket about 30 miles away, authorities said.
Earl Albert Moore, 65, was taken into custody by the FBI, but it wasn't immediately clear where he was being held.
A shopper saw Moore at a Starbucks inside a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder Tuesday morning, said Kelli McGannon, a spokeswoman for the company. The shopper called 911 after alerting a store manager.
McGannon said a police officer inside the store began watching Moore, but it wasn't clear if he had identified Moore or was reacting to the 911 call. Moore was in the store for about an hour, she said.
Moore left through a side door, possibly suspecting he was being watched, McGannon said. He was arrested outside by officers responding to the 911 call.
He didn't resist arrest and the officers didn't pull their guns, police spokeswoman Kim Kobel said.
Police and store security searched the supermarket after Moore's arrest and said they didn't find anything suspicious.
Authorities have been searching for him since the explosives were discovered April 20 at the Southwest Plaza Mall in the south Denver suburbs. The bomb and tanks were found after a fire, but they didn't detonate. No injuries were reported.
The fire occurred on the 12th anniversary of the shootings at Columbine High School, which is about two miles from the mall. Authorities also noted that the times of the mall fire and the Columbine shootings were similar, as was the use of a pipe bomb and propane tanks, which were used during the attack at the school in 1999 that killed 12 students and a teacher.
But on Monday, the FBI said the fire was likely not related to Columbine. Investigators said they found a motive but have not released additional information.
Authorities have scheduled a news conference for Tuesday afternoon.
The bomb and tanks were found in a hallway of the mall's food court after firefighters responded to a fire. The explosives prompted an evacuation of the mall. No one was injured.
The FBI on Sunday alerted field offices covering all 50 states and Puerto Rico to be on the lookout for Moore. Surveillance video showed images of him in the mall and on a bus.
Federal Bureau of Prisons records show that Moore was released from prison April 13 after serving time in a federal prison in Atlanta and Estill, S.C. Federal court record show that Moore pleaded guilty in May 2005 to robbing a bank in Crab Orchard, W.Va., of $2,546.
A judge sentenced Moore to 18 years in prison for the bank robbery, but a federal appeals court in 2006 ruled his stiff sentence was "unreasonable" and Moore's sentence was reduced to seven years. Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Edmond Ross said Moore received a "good conduct" release from prison after serving six years of his sentence.
Moore has an extensive criminal record.
Colorado Bureau of Investigation records show several arrests for possession of dangerous drugs, theft, and possession of burglary tools dating to 1984. Court records show that an arrest warrant had been issued for Moore in September 2004, six months before the West Virginia bank robbery, for his failure to appear at a court hearing related to a burglary case.
Moore also served a year in Danbury, Conn., federal prison in 1983, according to Ross. In 1985, Moore pleaded guilty to unlawful escape from custody of the attorney general and possession of an unregistered firearm. Details of that case, including where he served his prison sentence, were not immediately available from the Federal Records Center in suburban Denver.
Moore has used at least seven aliases that include variations of the names Earl Albert Buchannan, Donald Charles Morelli and Gary Steele, according to state arrest records. In addition, the FBI said Moore also uses the alias John Lindzy.
Moore lived in Colorado at least part time from the mid-1980s to 2004, according to public records.
Associated Press writers Catherine Tsai and Sheila V Kumar contributed to this report from Denver.