Altus Police were called to the VFW Post at 500 block of N. Veterans Drive Saturday morning at approximately 9 a.m. to investigate a suspicious package found on the property - a box left on a gas meter located near the roadway.
According to Altus Police Chief Tim Murphy, when police arrived, they discovered someone had placed a lunch box near the gas meter. Extreme precaution was taken, and Veterans Drive was closed off between East Broadway and Galaxy Dr., for about five hours during the investigation.
Murphy said that the Altus Air Force Base explosives detection K-9 was called, but was unable to determine for certain whether the box did in fact contain explosive materials. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol bomb squad was also called in and conducted their investigation. It was later found that the box only contained children’s toys.
“With the arrest and recent events of last Tuesday, we took this very seriously,” said Murphy. “Someone had placed this item near a gas meter, close to the roadway traveled by motorists and we were unable during the investigation to determine how long this box had been there, or if work crews accidentally left the box.”
Murphy said that for those reasons, they contacted the OHP bomb squad unit.
Law enforcement officers responded last Tuesday to reports that an Altus Air Force Base Airman had been talking around town about possessing bomb materials and the possibility of carrying out some type of attack. Search warrants were served on the man’s residence and a storage unit where items were found that could be used in the manufacture of a bomb or incendiary device. Although no bomb was located, a piece of PVC pipe that resembled a common pipe bomb was confiscated, along with other components and materials that could be used to make a bomb.
“With the events of last week, maybe we were still on edge, airing on the side of caution. Better safe than sorry, for the citizens of Altus and for those police officers as well. I’m extremely happy with the way everything turned out.”
The man in question was Timothy Francis Carey, 26. He was charged Friday with one count of possessing a simulated bomb, and other bomb-making materials, with an intent to either intimidate or harm another person or to do damage to property. The felony charge carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
Bond for Carey was set at $50,000 by Special District Judge Brad Leverett. He is expected to appear for an initial appearance on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in Jackson County District Court.