California PR man arrested after bomb materials found: FBI

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 03, 2014 6:01 PM

By Madeleine Thomas

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Bomb materials found in the apartment of a San Francisco public relations consultant arrested after a manhunt included equipment that could have allowed him to detonate a device from afar, court papers showed on Tuesday.

Ryan Kelly Chamberlain, 42, was arrested near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco on Monday after he wrote a post on social media that suggested he was a threat, FBI special agent David Johnson told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday.

In a search of Chamberlain’s apartment over the weekend the FBI found a rust-colored messenger bag with bomb materials inside, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in San Francisco on Tuesday.

In the bag was a screw-top glass jar that contained batteries and a powdery green substance, a model rocket motor, an electric match often used as an igniter for improvised explosive devices and an assortment of ball bearings and screws believed to be meant as projectiles, the court papers said.

The court papers did not disclose the nature of the powdery green substance. The FBI in a statement on Sunday had said Chamberlain had "explosive materials" at his residence.

There also was a wire extending from the jar and a circuit board, configured as a remote-controlled receiver, the court papers stated.

“FBI bomb technicians believe that the circuit board described above was designed to serve as a remote control, allowing detonation of the device from afar,” FBI special agent Michael P. Eldridge wrote in the court documents.

“They further believe that the device was designed to maim or kill a human being or human beings.”

Authorities at a news conference did not discuss the contents of the social media posting from Chamberlain that raised alarms.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that he sent an automated farewell message timed to go out on Monday to family and friends via social media in which he spoke of his depression, romantic heartbreak and loss of job.

Chamberlain was a public relations contractor for several local tech and marketing companies, his online resume shows.

He appeared in court on Tuesday, but did not enter a plea and was ordered to return to court on Wednesday and Thursday for further hearings, the Chronicle reported. An attorney for Chamberlain could not be reached for comment.

(Additional reporting by Laura Rena Murray in San Francisco and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle. Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis. Editing by Andre Grenon)