Others had seen fake bomb for what it was, arrestee says
11:24 PM PDT on Wednesday, May 30, 2007
The clock that Fontana resident Brian Babcock rigged up on the dashboard of his 1991 pickup truck to look like a time bomb triggered Monday's five-hour evacuation of Rialto's Home Depot and surrounding homes and stores.
Babcock, 55, a semi-retired construction worker, had taped and wired a $4.50 analog clock and a couple of 9-volt batteries to five orange-taped, foot-long sections of plastic pipe. He stuck "Danger" decals on the bundle.
Most people who saw his unique clock got the joke, said Babcock, who described himself as a funny guy.
"A couple of my friends said, yeah, it looks like it might be a bomb," Babcock said Wednesday. "When I was at the smog place, the guy was looking at it and laughing and said, 'Let's take it into the liquor store next door and show them.' "
Rialto police Sgt. Paul Wing, one of the first officers to arrive at the Foothill Boulevard store parking lot and view the dashboard device, said he and bomb squad officers considered it to be very realistic.
They called for a wide evacuation in case it was real. If it were dynamite, he said, there were enough sticks to inflict damage for a third of a mile around the store.
"He wasn't using his common sense, and when he gets a fine or jail time, he'll be re-evaluating his sense of humor," said San Bernardino County sheriff's Detective Jim Mahan, who works on the bomb squad.
A fake bomb used as a scare tactic can be a form of terrorism and is taken as seriously as a real bomb, he said.
Babcock said he installed the clock in December after he bought the truck. But due to a difficulty passing smog inspections, he had not driven it until Monday, after he got a provisional smog permit. His first outing was to buy circuit breakers at Home Depot.
While shopping, he and others were evacuated from the store. He said he did not hear store security announcements describing his truck.
The parking lot was taped off and it appeared it would be some time before he could get to his truck, which he could not see. So he hitched a ride home with a man who told him the evacuation was caused by a report of a bomb in a vehicle in the parking lot.
"As soon as I heard about that, I flagged a Fontana police officer down on Sierra (Avenue)," and told the officer his vehicle's clock might have caused the scare, Babcock said. Within minutes, he was sitting in handcuffs in the back of a police car being questioned by the bomb squad.
"They asked if there were screws on the numbers of the clock," Babcock said Wednesday, one day after his release from West Valley Detention Center.
Wing said Babcock didn't alert Fontana police until three hours into the incident. By then, homes and several large stores had been evacuated, losing hours worth of business on a busy shopping day, Wing said.
Babcock was booked on suspicion of possessing a look-alike destructive device, a misdemeanor, according to the Rialto Police Department.
His truck remains in the sheriff's impound yard, its windows destroyed from the water cannon that was used to blast the device.
Reach Sharon McNary at 951-368-9458 or smcnary@PE.com
BS Ranch Perspective:
Babcock is such a mental giant that he left his vehicle at the Store at which he was shopping at because he was being evacuated due to a Bomb scare in the parking lot! HEY BABCOCK! YOU WERE PLAYING LETS SCARE THE PEOPLE IN THE OTHER STORES EARLIER, WHY WOULD YOU THINK THAT IT WOULDN'T BE YOUR CAR THAT WAS THE ONE THAT WAS SCARING THE PEOPLE IN THE HOME DEPOT PARKING LOT JUST A HALF HOUR LATER!!
Babcock I hope that you make enough to pay someone to mow your lawn, because I would be afraid if you were operating a Lawn Mower, VERY AFRAID, I certainly would want any of your fingers toes, or even feet to come flying into my lawn and feeding my lawn with your blood. I hear that blood is good for lawn care, but I don't want to have to clean up the fleshy parts after flying from your machine!!
BABCOCK BRAIN. I guess when we were looking for the next super here villain you would be the next villain to Super Chicken!!