Nederland bomb suspect David Ansberry indicted on charge of using weapon of mass destruction

Posted at 8:35 AM, Nov 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-02 22:47:52-04

DENVER -- The man accused of planting a bomb at a Nederland shopping center that also houses the town's police headquarters has been indicted on charges of using a weapon of mass destruction.

The federal grand jury indictment,  which was filed Tuesday, says David Ansberry, also known as Jessie Howard, on or about October 11 "without lawful authority, did knowingly use and attempt to use a weapon of mass destruction, namely, a destructive device."

Ansberry allegedly planted the bomb in a backpack in the shopping center area.

Believing it was lost property dropped off at the police station, the first officer to arrive at the station that morning brought the bag inside, then began to look inside. What he found led him to evacuate that office, then the entire Caribou Ridge Shopping Center. 

The explosive was detonated by bomb squad agents. No one was hurt.

The federal criminal complaint says agents were able to get the phone number for a phone attached to the explosive, as well as the number of a phone that called the one attached to the bomb several times in an attempt to detonate it.

Authorities were able to trace the phones back to stores in Denver and Longmont, and through surveillance video were able to identify the person who bought them as a man who is 3-foot-6 inches tall and weighs about 100 pounds.

The man also had a pony tail, was wearing a baseball hat at the time and was on crutches.

After discovering the surveillance footage, Nederland police told authorities they had seen a man fitting the same description as officers evacuated the nearby Boulder Creek Lodge the morning of the bomb scare.

Detectives checked with the hotel, which provided a senior citizens identity card identifying Ansberry as the man who had rented a room.

Authorities cross-checked a California phone number Ansberry had provided the hotel, and found another California phone number associated with Ansberry.

The second number was used to call a taxi company from the same hotel. Police were able to trace one of the two California numbers to the only Verizon cell tower in Nederland, placing Ansberry at the scene when the bomb was active.

Ansberry was arrested days later in Chicago. Authorities did not release any details about the circumstances of the arrest. Ansberry has not yet been extradited to Colorado, according to federal officials.

Ansberry faces a minimum of 5 years and up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted on the charges. He also faces a fine of up to $250,000.

While authorities have not released any details on a possible motive, there are reports that Ansberry may have been friends with a murder victim from a case in 1971. More than 25 years later, a former Nederland Marshal by the name of Renner Forbes confessed to the murder.

A joint investigation by the FBI, ATF, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office and the Nederland Police Department remains ongoing. Anyone with information on the attempted bombing is asked to call 303-629-7171.


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