LARGO — Police have arrested a man accused of strapping a fake bomb to the undercarriage of his car last weekend, an incident that led to evacuations, snarled traffic and a big response from emergency personnel.
The device was discovered by a mechanic at the Jiffy Lube at 13763 Walsingham Road, where the man had taken the car for an oil change.
Police identified the man as Jeffrey Boreman, 37. He was charged with planting a hoax bomb and was released from the Pinellas County Jail on Thursday afternoon after posting $10,000 bail.
"There's evidence he's distraught over a pending divorce," said Largo police Lt. Edward Sohoski.
Boreman took his 2004 Nissan Maxima to the shop around 5 p.m. Saturday. The mechanic noticed the device and notified police, who called the Tampa Bay Regional Bomb Squad.
The bomb squad worked with police and agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to remove the device. They blew up the mechanism and determined it was fake, Sohoski said.
Numerous nearby businesses were evacuated during the incident, and traffic was backed up as authorities shut down part of Walsingham Road for several hours. Fourteen police officers as well as Largo firefighters and the federal agents were tied up on the case for several hours, Sohoski said.
"This wasn't a single cop going out there and taking a false report," Sohoski said.
Largo police found a piece of a watch attached to the gadget. Detective Chris Berard determined the watch was carried by Target stores and learned that four of the watches had been sold locally in the past month, Sohoski said.
Target officials provided surveillance video of those purchases and one of them showed Boreman buying one of the watches, as well as batteries and a certain type of glue, both used in the fake bomb, Sohoski said.
Boreman was arrested after he went to the Largo Police Department Thursday morning. He told authorities he went to the department to give them more information about the incident, as he was still claiming to be a victim in the case, police said.
During an interview, Boreman admitted to Berard he planted the phony bomb, police said.
Court records show Boreman's wife filed for divorce in June 2008, but the case is ongoing. Boreman's wife, Kathryn, received a temporary restraining order against her husband on Tuesday, according to court records.