Man wanted for pipe bombings targeted cops; state police issue ‘Blue Alert’

Posted at 12:11 AM, Oct 31, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-31 22:44:44-04

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (WTVR) - Police have named a suspect after three pipe bombs exploded at different times and locations in Stafford county, early Tuesday morning. 

In a press conference Wednesday, police said they are searching for Laurence Alan Stewart II. He is wanted for two counts of attempted capital murder, two counts of burning or destroying a dwelling and two counts of manufacturing an explosive device in connection to three separate pipe bombing incidents that occurred on Oct. 30. 

Additionally, Virginia State Police issued its first "Blue Alert" around 10 p.m. Wednesday. The alert, similar to an Amber Alert, is issued if an officer is killed, injured or assaulted -- or a suspect poses an immediate danger to the public or law enforcement.

Police said that all three homes targeted were damaged. In one a hole was blown in the roof and windows shattered. 

The targets were two officers and an ex-girlfriend. Stewart is considered extremely armed and dangerous. He was last seen driving a red 2013 Hyundai Accent sedan, with license plate: WXA‐8249.

Stewart is 25-years-old, weighs 220 pounds, and stands 5-foot, 11-inches. He is also wanted out of Stafford for indecent exposure, obscene sexual display and violation of a protective order.  [READ MORE: Stafford man wanted for exposing himself, violating protective order]

At one scene, a blown-out window was clearly visible, as was the big red command unit and crime tape draped across the landscape in front of the Fredericksburg home. What some living here thought sounded like storm damage, they soon learned, was not.

"I heard a loud bang, then a cracking sound,” said John Olson who lives next door. “I knew it wasn't a transformer."

Fredericksburg Police and agents from the ATF spent more than half the day at the Normandy Avenue home.  "We had windows blown out, holes through the roof, and walls damaged in the house," said Fredericksburg Police Public Information Officer Natatia Bledsoe.

Investigators said clues collected at that home, led them to believe the same suspect was involved in two other bomb blasts.  “We've determined they are connected," said Bledsoe.

Sources close to the investigation told CBS 6 a Stafford detective used to rent the home a couple of years ago but no longer lives at that address.  That source also told me a Stafford detective’s home in the Kings Grant neighborhood was also hit with a pipe bomb about 35 minutes after the Fredericksburg bombing.

“It's very unnerving, but I feel better knowing it's not random," said Olson.

The third house hit by a pipe bomb blast was in Stafford's Country Ridge community around 5:30 Tuesday morning.  A source close to the investigation said the suspect planted a pipe bomb with bolts, screws and nails inside. 

The bomb was wedged between sand bags the homeowner had been using to keep storm water out.

I’m told if the blast at that home had come thirty seconds later, it would've seriously injured the man that lives there.  That man, sources identify as the father of the suspect’s ex-girlfriend.

Somehow, in all three blasts, no one was injured.  The man at the Stafford home didn't want comment on the investigation but said he did get checked out at a local emergency room as a precaution.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office at 540‐658‐4400.