Bomb Making Suspect Arrested in Delhi

February 6, 2009 8:39:49 PM PST
The Merced Bomb Squad was called out to Bawcum's home after Sheriff's Deputies say they found bomb making materials there early this morning. But it was a phone call from Bawcum himself that authorities say landed him in jail.Merced County Sheriff's Deputies and the police bomb squad spent hours Friday morning carefully combing this Delhi property where 41 year old Brian Bawcum Junior lives with his parents. Detectives say the investigation began after neighbors reported hearing loud explosions for the past few days.

Jon Culver said, "A couple of nights ago, I was in my room hanging out and I heard a really loud boom."

Jon Culver lives about a half mile from Bawcum's home, but says the blast was so strong he actually felt it.

"It actually shook our garage, and my room is up against the garage, so my actual wall shook," said Culver.

Deputies had been searching the area since the calls from neighbors started coming in earlier this week. But they say it was a strange 9-1-1 call from Bawcum himself early Friday morning that led them to his door.

Sgt. Jason Goins from the Merced Co. Sheriff's Dept. said, "The dispatcher asked the individual on the phone if there was a problem. He said there was not a problem. It was an odd call to our dispatch center. Based on the explosions the last couple of days and the odd phone call from here, deputies responded."

Sgt. Jason Goins says the deputies arrested Bawcum after finding black powder inside a small shop on the property. Then they called in the bomb squad to search for explosive devices and other evidence. Detectives say they found more bomb-making materials, but it's not clear what Bawcum was intending to do with them.

"If he was making devices to jeopardize public safety, it is a concern to us," said Sgt. Goins.

Bawcum is being held without bail because he was already on probation for domestic violence. Detectives say he also cursed at the 9-1-1 operator, so he's facing charges for harassing her as well as possession of a destructive device.

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