BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – The 65-year-old suspect in last week’s attempted bombing at Southwest Plaza has been taken into custody in the Boulder.
The arrest of Earl Albert Moore took place at the King Soopers grocery store at Table Mesa Drive in the southern part of the city.
An alert female customer in the store noticed the man who has been the subject of a nationwide manhunt at about 6:30 a.m. ordering a coffee at the Starbucks inside the store. She contacted store authorities and called 911.
While police units were on the way Moore started walking around the store and at one point he apparently realized he was being followed. A Boulder police officer had actually started following him and had been waiting for more units to arrive.
Moore then walked out of the building and was arrested without a struggle in the parking lot.
“Various astute employees and customers at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, noticed a man that they deemed suspicious and they notified the Boulder Police Department,” said James F. Yacone, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Denver Division. “Within minutes the Boulder Police Department responded and realized that they had Earl Albert Moore there with them and placed him in custody without incident.”
On Sunday federal officials had identified Moore, who has an extensive criminal background, as the suspect in the planting of a pipe bomb and propane tanks at Southwest Plaza on April 20. He was released from prison in Georgia a week before the incident.
The incident started with fire crews putting out a small fire at the mall. Authorities then found the bomb and two small propane tanks that had failed to detonate. A source close to the investigation told CBS4 forensic evidence found at the scene is how agents were able to pinpoint the suspect and name him.
Moore was seen in security images and video released last week both in the mall and in an RTD bus close to the mall. In all of the images he is carrying a large plastic bag.
Moore’s criminal history includes dangerous drug possession, larceny, possession of burglary tools and fugitive arrest. He was also convicted in a bank robbery in West Virginia in March 2005. The indictment says he got away with about $2,500 and assaulted some employees. He had been serving an 18 year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Estill, S.C. The sentence was reduced to 7 years, and under the federal system inmates can earn 57 days of good time per year.
Moore’s last known address is an apartment complex a few miles away from Southwest Plaza in Jefferson County.
(CBS4’s Michelle Griego interviewed the officer who made the arrest. Watch her report in the video below)
The suspect has used several different aliases, according to official documents. They include John Lindsey, Earl Buchanan, Morelli Buchanan, Donald Morelly and Gary Steele.
The timing of the bombing attempt — the incident happened on the 12th anniversary of the Columbine tragedy — has raised questions about whether a motive might be linked to the shooting rampage at Columbine High School, but so far that remains only speculation.