INDIO, Calif. - Felony charges were filed Thursday against a 22-year-old man suspected of making explosive devices at a Cathedral City mobile home.
Sean Stewart Clarke, arrested Tuesday at Sungate mobile home park on
Sunseeker Place, plead not guilty at his arraignment Thursday afternoon in Indio.
He faces felony counts for arson, assembling a booby trap and disposing
of hazardous waste, among other things, and misdemeanor charges for allegedly being under the influence of a controlled substance, according to court records.
About 1:45 a.m. Tuesday, Clarke's sister in San Diego called police and
asked them to check on him, saying he was ``acting delusional'' at her father's home.
When officers met Clarke at the front door, they saw a powder on the
floor, dismantled shotgun shells and buckshot, according to Cathedral City
``Clarke's appearance and behavior also led the officers to believe that
he was under the influence of a controlled substance,'' according to a police statement.
Clarke had an explosive device, which he said he made with potassium
nitrate and aluminum powder, ``and was carrying it for protection,'' according to police.
During a sweep of the home, officers saw bomb-making materials and called the Riverside County Sheriff's Department's Bomb Unit, which evacuated
Technicians used a robot to retrieve a bomb from the porch; it was later
Members of the bomb squad determined ``there was no safe way to remove
and secure the hazardous materials within the residence without risking the
health and safety of the first responders'' and decided to burn the mobile
home, according to police.
Authorities had to get approval to burn the home from the Riverside
County Environmental Health Department.
According to Capt. Chuck Robinson with the Cathedral City Police Department, the burn in tentatively scheduled for Friday night at 8 p.m. There is a chance that it will be delayed due to several variables that haven't been decided, including weather issues, environmental concerns and preparation logistics.
Capt. Robinson said police are guarding the home, and neighboring residents remain evacuated.
Clarke was being held at the county jail in Indio in lieu of $250,000 bail.