Bomb hoax suspect arrested

CARLSBAD — On Sept. 12, the city of Carlsbad Police Department responded to a report of a suspicious device at the Westfield Mall located in the 2500 block of El Camino Real.  A mall security guard reported he had located what he suspected to be a bomb inside a bathroom. Carlsbad Police & Fire Department personnel, along with members of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Bomb/Arson Unit responded. Several stores were evacuated as a precautionary measure until the Sheriff’s bomb team rendered the device safe.

Detectives with the Carlsbad Police Department conducted an extensive investigation. During the course of the investigation they learned the reporting security guard had made three similar reports to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department since 2012. In each instance, the guard reported finding the devices outside his apartment. He had also reported finding a pipe bomb while working as a security guard at Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego.

Upon further investigation, detectives discovered the security guard, Abraham Nava, a 21-year-old resident of Vista, had also made prior reports of finding graffiti which indicated bombs had been placed and had been set to detonate at prescribed times while working security at the Horton Plaza mall in San Diego. On Sept. 18, Nava reported finding graffiti painted on the walls of a hallway inside the Carlsbad mall threatening that a shooting would happen that day.

Detective Stephan Tashoff conducted an extensive interview of Nava earlier today. During the interview Nava confessed to planting the fake bomb and reporting a false bomb threat. He also confessed to having written the graffiti at both the Carlsbad mall as well as the Horton Plaza mall. Nava consented to a search of his residence. The search did not result in the discovery of any explosives and it was determined the device he placed inside the mall had not contained any explosive substance.

While at the Carlsbad Police Department, Nava complained of chest pain. He was transported to a local hospital for evaluation. He will be booked into the Vista Jail on charges of placing a false bomb, criminal threats, and commercial burglary once he is medically cleared.

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