LARGO, Md. (WJZ) — A Bowie man is under arrest for a series of bottle bombings that put police, firefighters and theater goers on high alert. One of the incidents happened at the popular Arundel Mills movie theater.
Rick Ritter has more on what police revealed about the suspected bottle bomber.
Bond was originally set at $50 million for Manuel Joyner, who faces a rap sheet of charges. But a judge later denied bail altogether at a hearing Monday in Prince George’s County.
Investigators tell us they took the 20-year-old into custody Saturday and shortly after, he confessed to the bombings.
Investigators say surveillance video captured “a person of interest” from the Arundel Mills Mall just moments before a terrifying ordeal at the Cinemark movie theater.
“When we come to these places, you think about being safe and you don’t think about stuff happening like that,” said Bruce Le, of Largo.
Investigators aren’t confirming whether or not it’s Joyner but say he is behind all six bottle bombings stretching from the Baltimore area to Prince George’s County.
“That video was released for the public to help us identify a suspect or person of interest in this case,” said Chief Michael Cox, Anne Arundel Fire Department.
The device is known as a “bottle bomb,” where baking soda, vinegar and other materials are placed inside a bottle, causing it to explode.
Investigators say Joyner hit five different theaters six times in nearly two months, causing several evacuations.
“Setting a bond at $50 million is that we don’t consider this or anything like this a prank,” said Marc Bashoor, Prince George’s County fire chief.
Luckily, there were no serious injuries.
Police arrested Joyner on Saturday as soon as he left work at a Home Depot in Bowie.
“He admitted to his responsibility and involvement in all six incidents,” said Brian Radinsky, Prince George’s County fire marshal.
Investigators say after Joyner admitted to the crimes, they searched his home. They won’t tell us what they found but say they seized multiple items of evidence.
As far as an accomplice, specifically in the Arundel Mills Mall incident, Chief Michael Cox isn’t ruling out the possibility.
“We’re always concerned that people might be acting with more than one person or in a group,” Cox said.
Authorities say they’re lucky to have Joyner off the streets before one of these bombings turned deadly.
“These are scary times we live in. We just have to have extra precautions,” Le said.
WJZ asked investigators about a possible motive for Joyner behind the bombings. They say it’s still a very active investigation, and they can’t release any other information at this time.
Joyner has been charged with manufacture, possession and detonation with a destructive device. He could face up to 25 years in prison.
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