A bomb scare Tuesday afternoon on Arbor Drive didn’t lead to a real bomb, but the continuing investigation could lead into southern Missouri.
Police Chief Chris Graddy said the HPD’s Narcotics Division and the 14th Judicial Drug Task Force initiated the stop of a pickup and trailer about 1:50 p.m. Tuesday.
Officers explained that the vehicle had been seen parked at a known “drug house” not far from the scene. They followed the vehicle and the driver pulled over on Arbor Drive to let the unmarked police vehicle go around him, but the stop was initiated instead.
A daily police log shows a K9 unit trained to detect drugs indicated the possible presence of drugs on the passenger side of the pickup.
As officers were looking through the vehicle, one found what appeared to be a pipe bomb in the glove compartment. It was a piece of PVC pipe with electrical tape wrapped around it and a fuse protruding from one end.
The officers took a picture of the device and sent it to the Bentonville Police Bomb Squad. They agreed to come to Harrison and check it out.
The entire area around the east side of what is often call “the big H” was closed down in anticipation of that visit and traffic was snarled.
Using a wheeled robot similar to one that has been deployed in other bomb scares in the city, the bomb squad moved in and destroyed the device just after 5 p.m. It turned out to contain components of fireworks, but no shrapnel. Graddy said it was described as a “large firecracker.”
The daily log shows 29-year-old Brandon Blankenship was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia with bond set at $1,500, but he was later released on a signature bond because the Boone County Jail was full. Police say his identification was out of West Virginia.
Two other people in the vehicle — Kyle Mathew, 30, and 29-year-old Krystal Meredith — showed addresses out of the Branson, Missouri, area. They weren’t arrested at the time, police say.
But officers located several boxes of new Vera Bradley fashion merchandise inside the trailer.
Assistant Police Chief John Cagle said authorities believe the property was stolen from a store in Branson, so Harrison and Branson officers were working together on that case as of Wednesday.