Birmingham AL April 23 2017
A pair of bombs found in a truck during a traffic stop in Birmingham Thursday morning were about 10 inches long, 1 1/2 inches in diameter and could have caused serious damage or injury, investigators said
Though the suspect claims the explosive devices were packed with black powder, or gun powder, investigators have reason to suspect that the devices may contain flash powder, which is a sensitive, explosive mixture that can explode through heat, shock or friction.
"If it had flash powder in it, one of them could significantly damage a car,'' said Dave Hyche, ATF's assistant special agent in charge in Alabama. "Flash powder is very dangerous and can detonate without being confined. "
Birmingham police late Thursday identified the suspect as Joshua Ward, 27, of Hamilton, and Bradley Pullen, 30, of Hueytown. Ward, the driver and a U.S. Army veteran, is charged with possession of an explosive device and violation of the state firearms act. His bond is set at $75,300.
Pullen, the passenger, is charged with unlawful possession of a controlled subtsance. His bond is set at $2,500.
The incident started just before 1 a.m. when Birmingham police East Precinct officers stopped a 2008 Dodge Ram because it didn't have its headlights on. The pickup truck was pulled over in the 5000 block of First Avenue North.
When officers approached the truck, said police spokesman Lt. Sean Edwards, they saw an AR-15 rifle lying on the rear seat. The weapon was secured by the officer, and the driver also admitted to having a handgun in the truck.
After the two were removed from the truck, a search of the vehicle turned up two more guns and two explosive devices inside a tool box in the truck bed. ATF agents, along with Birmingham's bomb squad, removed the devices from the truck and those devices were taken to another location for further examination.
"The devices will be remotely disassembled and preserved for evidence,'' Hyche said.
Hyche said they are trying to determine why the man, or men, were in possession of the explosive devices. It's unclear whether he intended harm to something or someone, or just liked making bombs. "We don't have any information that he had someone targeted,'' Hyche said.
Hyche said the components that make up the explosive devices will determine whether the device-related charges are state or federal. "We take this very seriously,'' he said. "These are large, dangerous devices and flash powder is very unstable."