A California man suspected of leaving a homemade explosive outside a police station in a small Colorado mountain town was arrested after being spotted on surveillance video from a store where he bought a cellphone used in the device, two law enforcement officials said Monday.
David Michael Ansberry, 64, of California, was easily recognizable because he is 3 feet 6 inches tall, the two officials told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the case.
One of the law enforcement officials said the device was designed to be remotely detonated using a cellphone but failed. Authorities provided few other details about the bomb or what kind of destruction it might have caused in the town of Nederland.
The circumstances of Ansberry’s arrest over the weekend in Chicago were not immediately released, but his height was a factor in finding him, officials said. Authorities have not released a motive, and it’s unclear if he targeting police.
A detective found the device in a backpack on Oct. 11 and brought it into the police station, believing it was lost property. Robots searched the device, and it was eventually detonated in the parking lot of the town’s main retail complex, a strip mall that houses the five-officer police department.
It was not immediately clear what charges Ansberry would face or whether anyone else was involved in the incident. The U.S. attorney’s office confirmed the arrest, but spokesman Jeff Dorschner would not comment further.
The case rattled the mountain-ringed town of 1,500 people southwest of Boulder that is best known for its love of legal marijuana and its annual celebration of a frozen corpse that draws tens of thousands of revelers.
Town administrator Alisha Reis said residents are relieved by the arrest but questions remain.
“The community knows there has been an arrest, and that goes to calming people’s fears,” she said. “But folks are still confused as to why it occurred. Who is this person? And why would he have done it here?”
Nederland is refuge for artists and hippies that has long thrived on its embrace of outsiders.
Residents have recently complained about homeless campers and wanderers who live off the land. Two people camping near an area popular with transients attracted to the laid-back community were charged this summer with accidentally sparking a fire that destroyed eight homes.
But if there is anti-police sentiment, longtime residents said it’s hard to immediately spot.