By GLENN KAHL
Good detective work by patrol officers Mario Ysit and Mindy Morris uncovered a bag containing black powder and other precursor items used to make destructive devices in a pickup truck parked near a propane tank in the Schemper’s ACE Hardware parking lot.
The officers were called to the store shortly before 1 p.m. Saturday when workers were concerned about the welfare of an older teen who had been acting strange in their store. A manager said he was concerned when the youth walked out the door and drove away – soon returning and sitting in his truck near the propane tank with his head down. A 911 call was made because they thought he might be ill with medics being dispatched but then cancelled.
Officers soon recognized questionable explosive items in his vehicle that included a bottle rocket. The parking lot was cordoned off with yellow tape along with police cars. The store was closed to customers to ensure their safety. The teen was taken into custody and transported to the police department across the street for questioning.
The Manteca Bomb Squad was called to investigate as customers were turned away at the entrance driveways to the store’s parking lot. Bomb squad officers spent some 30 minutes going through the vehicle collecting the items they felt were explosive in nature.
The hardware store reportedly lost a great deal of business on a usually busy Saturday afternoon.