BRADENTON -- A homeless Bradenton man was arrested after causing the evacuation of a portion of the Bradenton Village apartments when he showed others what appeared to be an explosive device and claimed he was going to use it against his family.
Corey Wagoner was arrested at 2:42 p.m. Wednesday and charged with constructing an explosive device and threatening to use an explosive device. He was being held Thursday at the Manatee County jail on bonds totaling $9,000.
As a precaution, the Bradenton Police Department evacuated the area after the package was found in the 300 block of 12th Avenue West.
Just before 2:30 p.m., the sound of the Manatee County Sheriff's Office bomb squad robot could be heard firing projectiles into the suspicious package.
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Officials determined the suspicious package found in Wagoner's backpack was not a bomb. The device was constructed with bleach, aluminum and a battery, Wagoner told police, according to his arrest report.
The Bradenton Fire Department was called to investigate along with the sheriff's office bomb squad.
The bomb scare came after three homeless individuals were talking to each other in a resident's rental unit. Wagoner reportedly said he was having problems with his family and then showed the others a suspicious object that appeared to them to be a homemade bomb, according to Bradenton police Capt. William Fowler.
"Wagoner told him he was going to package the device with a gift and send it to his family for Christmas," police reported.
The two left and reported Wagoner's threat to police immediately. Police officers already knew the areas Wagoner frequented and were able to locate him quickly. He was transported to BPD headquarters where he was later arrested and charged.
"We don't take any chances," Fowler said as the sheriff's office bomb squad was en route.
Travis Wynn was at his sister's home baby-sitting when he allowed the homeless suspect in.
"He came over wanting to hang out, I guess," Wynn said. "I let him in. "
Wynn said Wagoner was there for about 15 minutes when he turned scary.
"I don't know much about him, " Wynn said. "I do know that he is apparently an idiot."
During the bomb scare investigation, Police Chief Michael Radzilowski asked Bradenton residents to avoid the public housing complex. Authorities also halted all train traffic near Bradenton Villages during that time, Radzilowski said.
One resident was home next door with her baby when police knocked, and told her she needed to evacuate.
"I never thought something that bad would happen," she said.
Another resident two houses down said she was home studying when she heard the commotion.
"I was on my computer and my dog started barking up a storm," she said. "I looked out the window and seen all this. "
The Bradenton Housing Authority, which oversees Bradenton Village, is reeling after federal agents Sept. 19 seized documents for a federal Department of Housing and Urban Development investigation. The investigation is still pending, but the BHA Board voted Sept. 24 to fire its top two employees: Executive Director Wenston DeSue and his live-in girlfriend Stephany West, BHA special projects director. Financial Director Darcy Branch was appointed acting director.
Bradenton Villages is also facing criticism by residents for mold problems and poor maintenance, coupled with questionable fees for services normally covered by landlords.
Jessica De Leon, law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.