Suspect arrested in bomb scare on Louisiana campus

AP News
Posted: Jul 22, 2014 6:25 PM

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — A man arrested for phoning in a fake bomb scare that led to the evacuation of a 15-acre university campus last week unsuccessfully attempted to rob a bank the same day, authorities said Tuesday.

Devin Haywood called television station KATC about 5:30 a.m. last Wednesday and claimed he had placed two explosive devices at different points near the University of Louisiana at Lafayette: one in a public park and the other in an unspecified place, according to an FBI affidavit unsealed Tuesday.

Minutes later, as the search for the bombs unfolded, Haywood donned a hooded jacket and mask and hid behind an air-conditioning unit outside a branch of MidSouth Bank in Lafayette, the affidavit says. About 7:20 a.m., two bank employees arrived in separate cars and began a routine security sweep before entering the bank. One was in her car; the other had gotten out of her car.

The affidavit says surveillance video shows a man pointing a gun at one of the women, who ran back to her car. Both women were able to drive away. The same man was also seen later running across a nearby school campus, where he discarded a drawstring gym bag, the affidavit says.

Investigators said they recovered DNA from a glove inside the gym bag that was later matched to Haywood's through the state probation and parole office.

An image of Haywood from a crime database was then compared to security video from a Wal-Mart store where, using phone records, investigators determined that the phone used in the bomb threat had been purchased on July 15. The database photo of Haywood appeared to match the image of the man seen purchasing the telephone, said the affidavit from FBI agent Steven Kruger.

Haywood was arrested Monday night. By Tuesday afternoon, court records show, he was in the custody of federal marshal, charged with attempted bank robbery and using a cellphone to make the bomb threat.

There is no record of bail having been set after Haywood's initial court appearance Tuesday. U.S. District Court records indicate he waived a detention hearing. His lawyer is public defender Wayne Blanchard, who declined comment.

As for the explosive devices, police found one after the threat was called in. It was a fake. They said later that there was no second device.

Classes for about 5,500 students enrolled in summer courses were canceled that day, along with other activities. About 400 incoming freshmen had been scheduled to start orientation that day. The 1,500-acre campus was evacuated.

The university said Tuesday that its response to the threats, including text alerts to faculty and enrolled students, were "timely and effective."

The university said it looked into 15 notifications from students who said they did not receive a text alert and found that none was enrolled in summer classes.