NEDERLAND, Colo. (CBS4) – A Nederland woman says she unknowingly helped a man suspected of planting a bomb outside the mountain town’s police department by carrying luggage to his taxi cab last week.
The woman told CBS4 she assisted him after the bomb had been planted and does not believe she came in contact with the explosive.
The bomb, made of wires and a battery and concealed inside a backpack, failed to go off. Hours later, a police robot detonated the device. No one was hurt.
On Monday, investigators announced the arrest of David Michael Ansberry, 64, of San Rafael, California, in connection with the attempted bombing.
The woman, who asked not to be identified, described the encounter as shocking now, given the allegations against him.
“I had absolutely no idea until this morning,” she said. “I’m still in shock.”
Ansberry had been staying at the Boulder Creek Lodge, a motel located across the street from the Nederland shopping center where the bomb was first found. As police evacuated the area, she says Ansberry checked out of the motel. She helped Ansberry, who was using crutches to get around, to a waiting cab by carrying one of his bags.
“He was very adamant about one of his bag not being touched,” she said. “And the other one I was allowed to take up to the cab with me, but he was very adamant again about me walking in front of him and not really saying too many words to him.”
Investigators used surveillance video and cellphone records to track Ansberry to two King Soopers stores — one in Denver and one in Longmont, where they say he purchased phones he used build the bomb and where surveillance video identified the man. At 3-foot-6, investigators say Ansberry’s height made him recognizable. Nederland’s police chief also told investigators he spotted a man matching that description outside the Boulder Creek Lodge.
The woman, who works at the motel, says Ansberry seemed friendly during his stay. As he prepared to depart, amid evacuations during the police response to the device, he was polite.
“He was very quiet, did not ask very many questions about anything that was going on in fact, had a consistent smile on his face.”
Investigators ultimately tracked Ansberry to Chicago, where he was arrested on Saturday while de-boarding a plane at Midway Airport.
Sources told CBS4 Ansberry has been linked to a radical, counterculture group known as STP, or the STP Family. The hippie group was reportedly once based in the mountains outside of Boulder and known to be violent. Sources also say Ansberry may have been seeking revenge for something that happened more than 40 years ago.
According to an article published in the New York Times, in 1997, Renner LeRoy Forbes, then 68 years old and Nederland’s former deputized marshal, confessed to having killed Guy Howard Gaughnor in 1971. Gaughnor has also been linked to STP. It is unknown whether Gaughnor’s death was the motive for Ansberry’s alleged crime.
Ansberry is charged with attempted destruction of a building or property by means of fire or explosive. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible fine of up to $250,000.
Anyone with information about the case that might help in their investigation is asked to call the FBI at 303-629-7171.