Suicide Terror Threats & Scares

Title: Bomb Carrier In U.S. House Prompts Tightened Security
Date: November 2, 1998
New York Times

Abstract: The Capitol police re-adjusted metal detectors and installed sensitive bomb-detecting equipment last month after a tourist entered the House gallery with a homemade bomb under his shirt. Jack Russ, the sergeant-at-arms of the House, said today that the urgent steps following the Oct. 18 scare were the beginning of a tighter security system. In an interview, Mr. Russ said the bomb taken into the building ''was not a dud.'' It failed to explode because the man ''had not placed his wiring properly,'' he said
(New York Times, 1998).

Title: Police: British Columbia Man Straps Explosives To Body, Storms Ex's House
Date: May 19, 2012

Abstract: A British Columbia man who held authorities at bay for more than six hours after allegedly strapping explosives to his body is presumed dead after the house he was holed up in exploded, Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Friday.

The 48-year-old man, who was not immediately identified, is accused of storming his ex-girlfriend's home in the town of Kamloops, northeast of Vancouver, and taking her hostage, according to an incident report released by authorities.

The man told police he had explosives strapped to his body and to the gas tank of his van.

"The suspect, who is an electrician by trade, provided specific details to the negotiator regarding how the explosives were wired and how he would be able to detonate the devices remotely," the report said.

The incident began Thursday night when the man forced his way into the house and fired a shot into the ceiling, ordering the woman's four children and her new boyfriend out of the house, the report said. He then held the woman hostage at gunpoint, it said.

"Negotiators learned that the man was still distraught over the break-up with his former girlfriend two years earlier," the report said.

Authorities evacuated 15 houses in the neighborhood, police said.

Shortly after midnight, hostage negotiators persuaded the man to release his ex-girlfriend, whose identity was not released.

"The man continued to speak with the negotiator. But 10 minutes after the woman had been released, the telephone line went silent," the report said.

"Officers on the scene heard two rapid explosions erupt from within the house and a smoke detector alarm was set off."

A third, larger explosion followed, rattling houses in the neighborhood, police said.

While firefighters attempted to battle the house fire, members of the bomb squad found another bomb in the man's van.

"In the back, they could see a 5-gallon gas can and a 20 lb. propane cylinder," police said.

Once firefighters got the fire under control, the bomb squad used a small, remote-controlled robot to "neutralize" the bomb, the report said.

"Investigators will start the arduous task of sifting through the rubble looking for the remains of the suspect and other evidence related to the explosions from within the house," the report said.

Neighbor Vern Reynolds, 79, told CNN affiliate CTV the first indication there was something wrong at the house was the sound of a gunshot. That was followed by the arrival of more than a dozen police cars.

"Shocking, shocking, shocking. That's what it is," Reynolds said Friday afternoon. "This is just disbelief, disbelief."

Another neighbor Simon Harry said the four children took refuge in his home in the cul-de-sac while authorities negotiated for their mother's release.

"I just can't believe something like that was actually happening," he told CTV (CNN, 2012).

Title: Suspects Sought After Hollywood-Style Bank Heist
Date: September 6, 2012

Abstract: Authorities investigating a bizarre bank heist on Thursday searched the home of a bank manager who was told to strap what she believed was a bomb to her midsection and was forced to order employees to "take out all the money" from her branch.

Two masked gunmen got away with an undisclosed amount of cash from the Bank of America when it opened Wednesday morning, but no one was injured in the robbery. No arrests had been made as of Thursday afternoon.

Boxes of evidence were removed from the bank employee's home, according to Lt. Neal Mongan of Huntington Park police, whose detectives are leading the kidnapping portion of the probe.

The bank manager was snatched in front of her home Wednesday morning, said sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker. She arrived at her workplace wearing the device.

"She was told that it was explosives and she was ordered to go into the bank and take out all the money," Parker said. "She did do that in fear for her life."

A Los Angeles County sheriff's bomb squad disabled the device, but investigators said it wasn't an explosive.

She ordered her fellow employees to remove the cash from the bank and it was thrown to the men who were waiting outside, authorities said. Parker would only say there was "a decent amount" of money at the bank and the manager did enter the safe.

The two men, who were armed with handguns and wore ski masks, took off in a two-door car and remain at large.

Parker said the woman remained inside the bank until a bomb squad arrived and removed the device from her body. The bomb squad later disabled the item with a robot. Nearby businesses were evacuated for a few hours as a precaution.

Investigators initially said they didn't believe the manager knew the robbers but they have conducted interviews to ensure she wasn't connected to the crime.

Authorities haven't said how the bank manager was targeted by the robbers. Investigators are trying to determine if there were any video surveillance cameras that captured the incident. They added that no further information about the bank video or 911 calls were being released.

Southern California has long been a target for bank robbers. Its most infamous heist was the televised shootout between Los Angeles police and two gunman wearing body armor in 1997. Both robbers were killed.

The area saw a three-decade low in bank robberies last year, tallying more than 280 across seven counties. In 1992, there were more than 2,600.

Using a bank manager to rob their own business is rare, authorities said, let alone strap a purported explosive device to an unwilling victim.

At least two movies have similarities to Wednesday's heist. "Bandits," a 2001 film starring Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton, follows two inmates who escape from prison and start a bank robbery spree that includes kidnapping bank managers.

"30 Minutes or Less" from 2011 involves two ne'er-do-wells who force a pizza delivery driver to rob a bank while wearing a time bomb vest. The filmmakers said the movie wasn't based on the 2003 Pennsylvania collar-bomb case in which a pizza driver pizza delivery was killed when a metal bomb collar he was forced to wear while robbing a bank exploded (AP, 2012).

Title: Bank Manager's Boyfriend Arrested In Fake Bomb Robbery
Date: September 13, 2012

Abstract: A 33-year old man has been arrested in a bank robbery during which the manager says she was kidnapped and forced to rob her own bank while wearing what she thought was a bomb.

Ray Vega, of Bell, was taken into custody the day after the September 5th heist. He was charged with conspiracy and robbery, and then released on $100,000 bail.

There are unconfirmed reports that Vega was romantically involved with the bank manager.

Police did not release any further details, saying the investigation was ongoing.

The victim told police she was leaving her Huntington Park home for work at a Bank of America in East L.A. when two masked men snatched her in her garage.

They strapped what they told her was an explosive device to her chest and instructed her to drive to her bank and give them money, police said.

The manager entered the bank at Atlantic Blvd. and Verona St. just after 8:30 a.m., shortly before it was supposed to open for business.

She informed her colleagues inside about the device and she collected the money, authorities said.

The woman followed instructions to throw the money out the bank's back doors, and the two robbers sped away in a car. They avoided being seen on bank video cameras.

Moments later, the bank alerted the East Los Angeles sheriff's station.

The sheriff's arson and explosives team arrived at the bank and removed the device from the woman safely.

KTLA's Sky5 was overhead as the woman exited the bank, unharmed.

Several hundred people were evacuated from the area as a sheriff's bomb squad robot inspected the device, which was in a gutter in front of the bank.

Then a bomb squad specialist in full protective gear surrounded the device with sandbags and detonated it.

Authorities said it did not appear that the device was an active bomb.

"We believed based on physical appearance that it could very well be an explosive device, and they very carefully removed that device from her body," said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker.

"It looked like one to everyone involved -- her, deputies, bomb squad technicians -- but in the rendered safe procedure, they found that it was not an explosive device," he said.

The victim's name has not been released. The FBI and local police interviewed her at length, but have released few details about what exactly happened.

The suspects were said to be driving a white Kia with the partial California license plate number 6HOR54
(KTLA News, 2012).

Title: Man’s Wires, Gadgets Cause Mall Scare
Date: September 26, 2012

Abstract: A man strapped with wires caused a big scare at a Gwinnett County mall, police said. 

They said 30-year-old Daniel Tudela, of Stone Mountain, was strapped with wires and electronic devices hanging from his body Sept. 13. He was headed toward the movie theater at Discover Mills. 

"One would put together, and reasonably assume, that he is here to commit some type of heinous crime, deadly crime,” said Cpl. Ed Ritter with the Gwinnett County Police Department.

Police said that's what the officers were prepared to confront after the mall employees called 911. Responding officers quickly determined the devices were not a threat.

According to a police report, Tudela told investigators the devices were part of his style and all of the gadgets were for personal use.

Still, police said on the heels of the mass shooting in Colorado and two days after the Sept. 11 attacks anniversary, the gadgets sparked concern.

"In the day of age that we're in today, with terrorist activity, and dressing like one, one would assume that you are one," Ritter said.

Police told Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh they wanted to continue the investigation to make certain he wasn't a threat. Police decided to charge Tudela this week with a misdemeanor for having a hoax device.

Kavanaugh went to Tudela's home to get his side of the story, and a woman identifying herself as a friend said, "It's no big deal. It's no big deal." She added she didn't understand the police reaction to what Tudela was allegedly wearing.
On Wednesday afternoon, Kavanaugh spoke over the phone with Tudela's attorney Regina Matthews. She said the gadgets were just toys to operate his cellphone and MP3 player.
She emailed a statement to Channel 2 Action News saying in part:
"This was an unfortunate arrest that was completely unwarranted. Family, neighbors and friends who know Mr. Tudela are expressing their concern and outrage over how such charges could be brought against someone who is kind, gentle and would never pose a risk of harm to anyone”
(WSBTV News, 2012).

Title: Early Halloween Costume Brings Out San Mateo Bomb Squad
Date: October 1, 2012
CBS San Francisco

Abstract: A man who decided to try out his costume and dress up ahead of Halloween prompted an explosives scare in downtown San Mateo Monday that resulted in the dispatch of a police bomb squad, authorities said.

Police received several calls about a man in a car front of a market along the first block of East 4th Street wearing what witnesses described as a full gas mask and army gear with several grenades hanging around his neck.

The San Mateo County sheriff’s bomb squad responded and evacuated a half-block area about 9:30 a.m.

Police detained the costumed man and said an “inert grenade” was found in his car, but they also indicated there was “no current danger” to the public.

The man was identified by police as Gilberto Masias, an employee at a local costume shop. Officers at the scene cited him for possession of an inactive grenade and released.

The San Mateo Police Dept. said in a Twitter posting that Masias’ “early Halloween costume provoked (their) reponse.”

SMPD Sgt. David Norris took the occassion to remind people to be mindful when choosing and wearing costumes in advance of Halloween.

“Costumes with very realistic weapons can create fear and safety concerns among the community members, and may provoke a response by law enforcement,” Norris said (CBS San Francisco, 2012).