Suspect in Va. home bombings captured in Montana
By MATT VOLZ Associated Press November 1, 2012 6:54PM
This image provided by the Virginia State Police shows Lawrence Alan Stewart II, who is wanted on charges of detonating pipe bombs at the homes of his ex-girlfriend and two investigators who were handling an indecent exposure case involving him.The Stafford County Sheriff's Office says his whereabouts remained unknown Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. The homemade bombs exploded Tuesday in Stafford County and Fredericksburg. No one was injured. Authorities believe Stewart II, is armed and may have explosives.(AP Photo/Virginia State Police)
HELENA, Mont. — A man wanted on charges of detonating pipe bombs in Virginia led police on a chase across the Montana plains Thursday during which he threw about a half-dozen bombs at his pursuers before he was captured, authorities said.
The chase began after a trooper with the Montana Highway Patrol pulled over Laurence Alan Stewart II for speeding, said Bradley Beyersdorf, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Stewart stopped at first, then sped off. Deputies from the Cascade County sheriff’s office and a helicopter joined in the pursuit, which began in Judith Basin County and then headed toward Great Falls on U.S. Highway 87.
Along the way, Stewart threw approximately six pipe bombs at the officers behind him, Beyersdorf said. Some of the bombs detonated, but there were no injuries during the pursuit.
The chase went on for about 40 miles before the officers disabled the car, but Beyersdorf did not know how. Stewart fled the vehicle with a handgun but was taken into custody.
One Cascade County sheriff’s deputy pulled a muscle during the foot chase, the Great Falls Tribune reported.
“This was an individual that was very dangerous. He showed that capacity in Virginia and continued that today in Montana,” Beyersdorf said.
It was not clear how Stewart came to be in Montana.
The highway patrol closed portions of U.S. 87 southeast of Great Falls. Beyersdorf said there may be more explosives in the car, and ATF personnel and a sniffer dog were headed to the scene.
Stewart, 25, is suspected of detonating pipe bombs in the homes of his ex-girlfriend and two investigators handling an indecent exposure case that involves him. Authorities said he is accused of exposing himself to two people while sitting in his car in North Stafford in July and August.
Nobody was injured in the explosions Tuesday in Stafford County and Fredericksburg. Authorities said the detective and deputy sheriff involved in that case were those targeted by the explosives, as was his ex-girlfriend.
Stewart faces charges in Virginia that include attempted capital murder of a law enforcement officer, manufacture or possession of a weapon of terror, and arson.
Beyersdorf said he did not know what additional charges Stewart may face in Montana, and proceedings would begin to return him to Virginia.
It was not immediately clear whether Stewart had an attorney.