Residents in a one block radius of the Shelby County Jail in Harlan were evacuated Sunday evening after authorities discovered an explosive device on a suspect being booked into the jail. The device was discovered as 42-year-old Alan Heath of Harlan was being booked into the jail on a charge of 5th degree theft.
As deputies worked to remove the device and placed it in the driveway of the jail, the neighborhood was evacuated, and the Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Office was called-in. During a search of Heath’s backpack, a second incendiary device was found. The Fire Marshal’s Office determined both devices were safe enough to be transported out of the city to be examined and destroyed.
A subsequent search Heath’s home failed to turn up any other similar devices. In addition to the theft charge, Heath now faces charges of Interference with Official Acts (a simple misdemeanor), Felony Possession of an Offensive Weapon and two counts of Possession of an Explosive or Incendiary Device. He was being held in the Shelby County Jail on $5,000 bond.
by Ric Hanson, KJAN