Anniston man to face only state charges in pipe-bomb case
by Eddie Burkhalter
eburkhalter@annistonstar.com
Feb 03, 2014 | 7283 views |  0 comments | 75 75 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Johnny Wade Stevens
Johnny Wade Stevens
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An Anniston man arrested in January on burglary charges will face a state charge but no federal charges related to a pipe bomb police say they found him with, authorities said today.

Oxford police arrested 34-year-old Johnny Wade Stevens Jan. 17 after they responded to a report of attempted burglary on Burtram Drive in Eastaboga.

Officers pulled Stevens over less than a mile from the scene and discovered a pipe bomb in his truck, according to Oxford police.

Stevens will be charged with no federal crimes involving the pipe bomb or involving possible bomb-making materials later found in his home, said Michael Knight, a public information officer with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Stevens remained in the Calhoun County Jail on Monday with bond set at $100,000 cash, charged with three counts of burglary as well as possession of methamphetamines and possession of a destructive device.

State law makes it a felony to possess, manufacture, transport or distribute a destructive device.

Knight said ATF investigators based their decision not to prosecute Stevens in part by determining whether the device was “being used for a criminal intent, or was it just recovered? Obviously public safety is our number one concern.”

According to Oxford police, the device taken from Stevens’ red Ford Ranger was made from PVC pipe, filled with black powder and capped at both ends. The Jefferson County Bomb Squad destroyed the bomb near the scene.

Oxford police Lt. L.G. Owens said that while searching Stevens’ home on the 1700 block on Morrisville Road, officers discovered materials they believe were used in making the explosive device found in Stevens’ truck.

Owens declined to say exactly what was found, citing the danger of providing information which could be used by copycat bomb-makers.

Investigators do not believe Stevens intended to use the bomb against another person, Owens said, and have no indication he is affiliated with a violent organization.

While he was in custody at the Calhoun County Jail on Jan. 27, Stevens was charged with burglary in connection with two other break-ins. One occurred Jan. 9 on the 400 block of Hulsey Road in Jacksonville, and the other on Dec. 30 on the 3200 block of Rocky Hollow Road in Jacksonville.

Lt. Jon Garlick with the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office said another suspect in the two earlier burglaries named Stevens as an additional suspect.

Stevens’ arraignment concerning the pipe-bomb charges is set for 1:30 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Calhoun County Courthouse.

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

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