Los Angeles buildings emptied after devices found

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Associated Press

Posted on May 15, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 15 at 4:34 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A police bomb squad was detonating homemade explosive devices found in an apartment on Wednesday after a traffic stop revealed a potentially dangerous liquid in a man's car, authorities said.

The man remained in custody as police evacuated several buildings and destroyed at least four devices. Authorities believe the man was acting alone, and said there were no apparent links to terrorism.

"This appears to be an individual who was just very curious with explosive devices and then manufactured them," police spokesman Sgt. Frank Preciado said.

The bomb squad went to an apartment complex in the Palms neighborhood of west Los Angeles after officers stopped the man for improper vehicle registration on Tuesday night and spotted a clear liquid that was concerning, police Sgt. Rudy Lopez said.

Officers also found a gun and narcotics, and the man was arrested. His name was not immediately released.

That discovery prompted the search of the man's apartment. The complex and three surrounding buildings were evacuated, and several blocks were sealed off.

Officers were taking the explosive devices to a closed off street and disarming them, fire Capt. Jaime Moore said.

"They've created a bunker in order to shelter any shrapnel or debris that may fly with the detonation," Moore said.

The man had not yet been booked because investigators were still determining the extent of any possible crimes, Lopez said.

Residents were directed to a nearby shelter during the evacuation.

Marion Firnhaber said she grabbed a book and a banana and was out the door of her apartment.

"I came outside and there were so many policemen, I thought, 'Nobody's going to get away with anything,'" she said.

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Associated Press writer Raquel Dillon contributed from Los Angeles.

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Tami Abdollah can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/latams

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