A motorist who noticed a pickup truck and trailer outside a northern Nevada construction company the day before Christmas provided a key clue to the arrest of a California man accused of stealing explosives and driving them to suburban Las Vegas, federal authorities said Tuesday.
Evan Ray Atkinson, 38, was arrested Jan. 4 at a hotel in Henderson and indicted Jan. 20 in U.S. District Court in Reno on multiple charges including theft, possession, improper storage and transport of explosive materials, according to prosecutors and court documents.
Acting U.S. Attorney Christopher Chiou said in a statement that Atkinson was arrested at a Wyndham suites property where court records say federal agents seized 39 sticks of dynamite, more than a mile of detonating cord, fuse lighters and ignition boosters from his hotel room, pickup truck and trailer.
The prosecutor and court records did not say what Atkinson allegedly planned to do with the materials.
He was arraigned Monday before a U.S. magistrate judge on charges in a six-count indictment that could get him decades in prison if he is convicted. He was freed without bond to home detention with GPS monitoring.
“Mr. Atkinson has entered a not guilty plea and will address the allegations in court,” his attorney, Richard Schonfeld, said Tuesday.
Prosecutors allege in court documents that Atkinson was found with about 100 pounds (45 kilograms) of dynamite and ignition materials, including items stolen Dec. 24 from an explosives locker at the company in Kinkaid Mill, a mining district off U.S. 95 near Hawthorne, Nevada.
A federal Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent reported in court filings that a woman traveling on the highway that afternoon remembered seeing a red pickup truck towing a white enclosed trailer at the remote property.
Cellphone location records led investigators to Atkinson and a maroon Chevrolet Silverado pickup with Arkansas license plates, court documents said.
Records show that Atkinson has an address in Manhattan Beach, California.
His trial is scheduled March 28 in Reno.