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Bay Pines Boulevard reopens after suspicious item found near hospital

Pinellas County

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) -An army veteran is under arrest after federal authorities say he’s responsible for making bombs and dropping one off at the entrance of a V.A. hospital.

The suspicious bag that turned out to be a homemade bomb was found at that entrance. It was cameras at a Wawa that gave police the first look at the suspect.

Neighbors are reacting to the news of the arrest of Mark Edward Allen at his home he’s linked to a suspicious bag left at the east gate of the Bay Pines Veterans Hospital.

“All the neighbors were like the FBI is here, so there’s ATF, there’s FBI, there’s Tampa Bomb Squad, there’s St. Pete police. They had SWAT. Everybody you can think of was out here,” says Megan Townley who lives in the same complex as Allen.

Tampa Bomb Squad discovered the bag left behind had a 9-volt battery, electrical wires, a black powder, and a clothes-pin switch. The only clue was an image from a Wawa security camera showing a man with “a long gray beard who was wearing a U.S. Army baseball hat.”

Two days later, the criminal complaint reports a woman called police saying she has an IED in her trunk and she was scared. She took the device while her husband, Allen, slept at home.

Neighbors describe suspicious noises from the apartment.

“They would stay up super late at night and they could hear hammering, and all kinds of weird noises going on,” says Townley.

A look at Allen’s past shows several arrests over the years with charges of battery, resisting arrest, and domestic battery.

“A little eye opening cause you’re not really expecting that, but anyone is capable of anything,” says Townley.


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