Mobile County

Theodore RV cleared of explosives: "I woke up and saw cops everywhere"

MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) - Mobile County law enforcement say an incident this morning could have been much, much worse. 

A 34-year old man is in custody Tuesday night, after allegedly calling a veterans' hotline claiming he wired his RV in Theodore with explosives. 

News 5 was the first on scene Tuesday morning where a section of the neighborhood at the corner of Frank Romer Road and Helen Glaze Drive was evacuated. 

“I woke up and I saw cops everywhere. I thought there was somebody dead out here that’s why I came out here to check because I saw the caution tape," resident Lauren Sanford tells News 5. 

Sheriff's deputies went door to door telling people to evacuate. “They said it was a bomb scare," said neighbor, Luria Davidson. 

Johnny Courtney lives right across the street from the RV and watched the whole thing play out. “I was thinking I might need to leave because I don’t know how big of a bomb they’re talking about.”

The suspect, Anthony Smith, claimed he rigged the RV with explosives. Investigators wouldn't tell News 5 the exact threats he made, but they called in a bomb squad and K-9's.

At the same time, across the county at Knollwood Apartments in Mobile, Mobile Police Department investigators found Smith at his apartment. 

He was arrested by MPD around 9:20am Tuesday. Then he was taken to the scene on Linda Smith Drive in Theodore. 

With Smith finally on scene, investigators cleared the RV, finding just commercial fireworks inside. 

“This has been a huge drain on emergency services. We’re glad everyone's safe, but it was a waste of time and taxpayers money to have this all out here," said Captain Paul Birch with the Mobile County Sheriff's Office. 

Everyone cleared the scene around 11:45am Tuesday. 

Smith may face additional charges, but for now, he's charged with two counts of making terroristic threats. One count for both investigating agencies. 

Investigators say Smith is known to both local and federal authorities. He's a veteran and may suffer from mental health problems. 

News 5 investigated Anthony Smith's history and found he pleaded guilty to robbing the Regions Bank on Dauphin Island Parkway on March 4, 2008.  Smith took $976.45 after he jumped over the counter and pinned the teller in her cubicle.  A short car chase followed and he was caught on the Dauphin Street exit ramp of I-65. Smith was sentenced to 30 months in Federal Prison.

In Feb of 2017, he was arrested for having a gun on the campus of the Citronelle Head Start School and is set for trial in August on that charge.

According to court documents, Smith was committed to Searcy Hospital shortly after the bank robbery.  The probate court found Smith was a danger to himself and or the public.  Documents also say, on the day of bank robbery, he told his aunt he felt he had two options in life:  commit suicide or rob a bank.  

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