Mounties don't suspect Penticton bomb-maker tied to terrorism

A member of the RCMP bomb squad gets suited up prior to setting a controlled detonation outside a Penticton home Friday. - Joe Fries/Western News
A member of the RCMP bomb squad gets suited up prior to setting a controlled detonation outside a Penticton home Friday.
— image credit: Joe Fries/Western News

Another loud explosion echoed through a Penticton neighbourhood Friday as an RCMP bomb squad detonated “precursor” materials found at the site of an accidental blast a day earlier.

The controlled detonation, which sounded like a firework exploding at close range, was set off around 1 p.m. Two houses were evacuated on either side of the suspect home at 225 Windsor Ave. and no one was injured by either blast.

Penticton RCMP Staff Sgt. Kurt Lozinski said a 30-year-man who lives at the home and is believed to be responsible for the bomb-making material was taken into custody on Thursday.

The man has had “not a lot of involvement with police in the past” and has been “extremely co-operative,” Lozinksi added.

He would not reveal what material was used to construct the “improvised device” that exploded Thursday, nor what was detonated Friday.

“The material was just precursors that could be used to make other explosions or explosives,” Lozinski said, noting “a number of ingredients were acquired and used.

“ Unfortunately, with easy access to the Internet, people seem to have access to (bomb)-making material, and I think that’s what this gentleman may have done.”

Mounties don’t suspect the man has links to terrorist activity.

“It might be premature to say, however, we don’t feel that” he is linked, Lozinski said, “but certainly we want to look at all avenues and all aspects of it.”

Police were initially called to the scene after a report of an explosion in the home’s backyard late Thursday afternoon that damaged a fence and a window.

Neighbour Kathy Hofmann, who lives about 100 metres from blast site, said she clearly heard the first explosion from her living room.

“It sounded like not as sharp as a gunshot, but bigger than that,” she said.

“I jumped up and my cat went running under the bed.”

Hofmann said she wasn’t totally surprised to learn someone was making bombs so close to her home.

“We think this is such a nice neighbourhood and nice street, but I think it happens everywhere. Look around the world and things are changing,” she said.

Neither she nor other neighbours to whom the Western News spoke knew anything about the occupants of 225 Windsor Ave.

The address appears in an posting on Kijiji by someone who found a stray cat on June 4. A woman who answered the phone number provided in the posting declined comment. Police have said a woman, not otherwise associated with the suspect, also lives at the house.

The accused bomb-maker will remain in custody while police conduct a thorough search of the house, Lozinski said, and the man could face a range of charges related to public endangerment and possession of explosive material.



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