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Cache of weapons found in Ventura

Police arrest a suspect after responding to reports of three pipe bomb incidents.

March 27, 2007|Gregory W. Griggs | Times Staff Writer

Ventura police discovered a cache of pipe bombs and other weapons, including an AK-47 assault rifle, while conducting an early morning search Monday of a suspect's apartment near the city's downtown.

Allan Toney, 28, was arrested on suspicion of four felony weapons and explosives possession violations.

Authorities secured a search warrant for Toney's home in the 100 block of South Hemlock Street after investigating reports of three pipe bomb incidents Sunday night.

During their search, officers said, they found five completed pipe bombs and enough supplies to make several more, along with illegal fireworks, a set of metal knuckles, the AK-47, and other rifles and military uniforms.

Police began investigating after receiving a call about 9:35 p.m. about a pipe bomb, which was found smoldering but unexploded, at Meta and Crimea streets.

As officers waited for members of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department bomb squad to arrive, a second pipe bomb exploded about a block away in the 100 block of South Hemlock Street, near Toney's apartment.

Authorities said a witness told investigators that another apparent pipe bomb also had exploded in the area earlier in the evening.

There were no reports of injuries or damage.

Tips from witnesses linked Toney to the bombs, authorities said.

Later, when authorities tried to question Toney, he "wasn't really answering questions or being real cooperative," said Sgt. Jack Richards, a spokesman for Ventura police.

The five bombs discovered in Toney's apartment ranged in size from 3 inches to 14 inches long, with diameters from one-half to three-quarters of an inch.

Officers also found bomb-making equipment that would be available at a hardware store, including "pyrotechnic-type powders" needed to make the devices explode.

The materials were enough to make "a half-dozen [bombs], or two to three really large ones," said Sgt. Bob Garcia, a supervisor in the Ventura County Sheriff's Department bomb squad.

He said residents of apartments next to Toney's home would have been endangered by the explosives.

"Anybody that was in close proximity could have been seriously injured or killed," he said.

greg.griggs@latimes.com

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