CLEARWATER — Authorities shut down a major thoroughfare for nearly two hours Sunday morning and called in the bomb squad to investigate what they said was a mentally ill man's attempt to set fire to a bucket of fertilizer at a bus stop.
Clearwater police and fire officials responded to the bus stop at 2200 Sunset Point Road, near Belcher Road, after a witness reported about 10 a.m. that a man was trying to set a fire there, said police spokeswoman Joelle Castelli.
The suspect, 39-year-old Constantine Tombourakis, tried to leave the scene when authorities arrived, Castelli said, but was arrested on a felony charge of making a destructive device.
Tombourakis lives nearby. Relatives told investigators he had tried to set palm tree fertilizer ablaze at their home Saturday, but they didn't contact authorities, Castelli said.
She said the amount of fertilizer Tombourakis tried to light Sunday was larger.
Clearwater police and fire crews shut down Sunset Point Road about 10:20 a.m. while the Tampa Police Department's bomb squad worked to identify and dispose of the substance. The road reopened after noon.
Authorities said Tombourakis' family told them he has a history of mental issues and was off of his medication. He was being held Sunday with bail set at $50,000 at the Pinellas County Jail.