Man gets 10 years for detonating pipe bomb inside NC Walmart

Larry Bowlsby
Larry Bowlsby

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WSPA) – A man was sentenced to ten years in prison for detonating an improvised explosive device, according to U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose.

She announced that 49-year-old Larry Dean Bowlsby was found guilty of detonating a pipe bomb inside a Walmart store in 2007.

Bowlsby was arrested in Missouri on May 24, 2016, and pleaded guilty to the charges in North Carolina in October of 2016.

According to court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, Bowlsby constructed the pipe bomb sometime before September 26, 2007.

Then, on that day, Bowlsby entered the Walmart in Sylva, N.C., accompanied by two minors.

Bowlsby placed the pipe bomb in the bag of one of the minors, but once he was inside the store, he took a shopping cart and removed the pipe bomb from the bag.

According to court records, Bowlsby then separated himself from the minors and took the cart and pipe bomb to the camping supplies section of the store.

He placed the bomb among some small propane cylinders made for camp stoves, ignited the device, and left the area, court records say.

The device detonated and cause an explosion.

Court records show that five people were nearby when the device exploded and had to be taken to the hospital for minor injuries.

Also, the Walmart store and some of its merchandise were damaged by the bomb.

According to court records, Bowlsby and the two minors drove away in his vehicle, but investigators were able to capture video footage from the store’s security cameras that showed Bowlsby and the two minors, as well as his car in the parking lot.

Bowlsby’s fingerprints were also found on the shopping cart.

According to court records, on January 9, 2008, the Colorado State Patrol stopped Bowlsby’s vehicle, which was the same as the one driven by Bowlsby during the 2007 incident in Sylva.

Law enforcement located four incendiary devices made from tennis balls, black powder, electrical tape, and fuses.

Bowlsby was arrested and eventually pleaded guilty to charges relating to the tennis ball bombs.

Bowlsby’s fingerprints were entered into the national database, which enabled the successful fingerprint search in 2016.

Bowlsby is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.

All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

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