Federal charges pending in Friday pipe bomb incident
by Eddie Burkhalter
eburkhalter@annistonstar.com
Jan 20, 2014 | 6679 views |  0 comments | 72 72 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Johnny Wade Stevens
Johnny Wade Stevens
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Local officials say federal agents have joined the investigation into a pipe bomb discovered in Oxford Friday, and that the inquiry has broadened beyond the man found with the explosive.

Oxford police Chief Bill Partridge said Monday that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is looking into the case of Johnny Wade Stevens, and that federal charges may be filed against the 34-year-old Anniston resident. Partridge also said that based on a search of Stevens’ home, the investigation has expanded to include other people.

Stevens remained in custody Monday without bond in the Calhoun County Jail, charged with burglary in connection with a break-in at a vacant home on the first block of Burtram Drive Friday morning.

Oxford police discovered the pipe bomb in the cab of Stevens’ Ford Ranger after pulling him over on the 1400 block of Beck Road on Friday, less than a mile from the scene of the burglary.

“He’s had several extensive interviews since that afternoon,” Partridge said. “There will be several more federal charges pending against him here in a few days.”

Citing the ongoing investigation, Partridge declined to say whether Stevens told investigators he planned to use the pipe bomb for a particular purpose, but said “other items” were discovered at Stevens’ residence on Morrisville Road following his arrest Friday.

Partridge declined to say what investigators found, but said no other bombs were discovered during the search.

The investigation has expanded to include other individuals, Partridge said, but he declined to say who they are or if they are acquaintances of Stevens.

“We’re not finished with him, and we’re not finished with possibly some other individuals,” Partridge said.

Partridge said he expects Stevens to be charged with additional crimes within the next several days.

Stevens pleaded guilty to theft in 1998 and to possession of marijuana in 2011, according to court records. He also pleaded guilty in 2009 to theft and to breaking and entering a vehicle.

Partridge said the bomb, which was made of PVC pipe, filled with black powder and capped at both ends with a fuse at one end, was a functioning and deadly device.

“It’s basically a small hand grenade, and it will kill you,” Partridge said.

The Jefferson County Bomb Squad responded Friday and wrapped the pipe bomb in detonation cord, which was ignited to disrupt the bomb.

An attempt to reach the ATF for comment Monday was unsuccessful. The federal agency was closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“I’d say that we take those kinds of things very seriously. That’s not something you see around our area very often,” Partridge said. “We’ll look at his whole background.”

Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.

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