Kansas City man charged with hoax bomb at federal courthouse

KANSAS CITY, MO, April 7, 2010 -- Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., man was charged in federal court today with placing a hoax bomb at the Charles Evans Whittaker Courthouse and making a false bomb threat over the telephone.

Manuel Garcia, 66, whose last known address was in Kansas City but is now believed to be homeless, was charged in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo. Garcia was arrested today and remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the federal criminal complaint, a suspicious package was discovered beside the east entrance to the federal courthouse on Monday morning, April 5, 2010. The suspicious package was a mesh soft cloth cooler, with a note attached making reference to “C-4,” to the time “7:00 am,” and to a detonation or explosion. The Kansas City Police Department’s bomb squad later determined that the package contained two small Kansas City telephone books.

At approximately 10:01 a.m., during the response to the suspicious package, an emergency call was made to the Emergency 911 system indicating that there were three additional explosive devices in the federal courthouse. A supervisor recognized Garcia’s voice from an earlier investigation, the affidavit says, and Garcia was interviewed the same day. A security video tape, according to the affidavit, depicts an individual who appears to be Garcia placing the suspicious package at the east entrance of the courthouse.

Phillips cautioned that the charge contained in this complaint is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian P. Casey. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, Federal Protection Services, and the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department.