S.C. Man Claims Bomb Brought to Hospital by Mistake

April 21, 2012
A man arrested after being found with a bomb in his hospital room told Union County Sheriff David Taylor Thursday afternoon that he'd meant no harm and had brought the bomb with him by mistake.

April 21--A man arrested after being found with a bomb in his hospital room told Union County Sheriff David Taylor Thursday afternoon that he'd meant no harm and had brought the bomb with him by mistake.

Jeffrey Glenn Rash, 51, 130 Stepp Road, Union, is charged by the Union County Sheriff's Office with two counts of possession of a destructive device.

Rash was arrested April 13 after nurses and security personnel at Wallace Thomson Hospital found a homemade bomb in a bag he'd brought with him to the hospital two days earlier. In announcing Rash's arrest during a press conference later that morning, Taylor described the bomb as being a small glass bottle containing gunpowder with some kind of sealant on top. There was also a firework fuse that had been removed from the bottle by the time deputies arrived on the scene. While small in size, Taylor said had the bomb been detonated it would have destroyed the entire third floor the hospital because of the oxygen systems in use.

The bomb was moved from Rash's room to outside the hospital where a SLED explosives technician neutralized it. The bomb was then confiscated as evidence by sheriff's deputies.

Rash was placed under arrest but was not transported to jail due to his medical condition. Instead, he was confined to his hospital room under guard until his medical treatment was completed.

Taylor said Friday afternoon that Rash was released from the hospital Thursday and transported to jail where a bond hearing was held. Union County Chief Magistrate Jimmy Crocker said Friday that bond for Rash was set at $20,000 cash surety bond with the stipulation that, in the event he makes bond, he will not be released until he can be fitted with an electronic monitoring device. Crocker said that once he's fitted with the device and released, Rash will be under house arrest and will not be permitted to leave his home except to for medical appointments, to attend church, and for any court appearances.

Shortly after he was arrested, Rash told deputies that he had several pipe bombs at his home. Deputies, together with SLED agents and members of the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office Bomb Squad, went to Rash's home where another resident gave them permission to search the building. The ensuing search turned up seven pipe bombs in a bedroom dresser drawer, part of them metal pipes and the rest PVC pipe.

All but two of the pipe bombs were safely detonated by SLED agents and the bomb squad at the Union County Firing Range. The other two were dismantled and kept as evidence along with the bomb from the hospital.

While he told deputies about the bombs at his house, Rash was otherwise uncooperative with investigators, refusing to say why he'd brought the bomb to the hospital or made it and the others in the first place. That changed somewhat Thursday afternoon when he asked to meet with Taylor.

"He sent word he wanted to talk to me and I went over to there to the jail and talked with him," Taylor said. "He gave me some information about the location of some black powder at his home. While it is not illegal to possess black powder, I had deputies go to his residence and remove the black powder he'd told me about so he wouldn't have access to it."

Taylor said depriving Rash of access to black powder was similar to the confiscation of his cell phone when he was arrested. Rash repeatedly asked for his cell phone back, but while none of the bombs found in his hospital room or home were rigged for detonation via cell phone signal, deputies denied his request as a safety precaution.

During their conversation Thursday afternoon, Taylor said Rash again declined to reveal his motives for making the bombs, but did claim he'd never intended to harm anyone at the hospital and had brought the bomb there by mistake.

"He didn't really give a whole lot, he just said his intention was not to harm anyone," Taylor said. "He said he'd picked up the bag containing the bomb by mistake. He said he was grabbing for another bag to take with him to the hospital and he'd grabbed that one by mistake."

Taylor said that even if Rash had not brought the bomb to the hospital he would still be facing charges because it is illegal to make and/or possess explosive devices such as pipe bombs.

While he is currently facing state charges, the possibility exists that Rash could find himself in federal court.

In addition to calling SLED and Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office Bomb Squad, Taylor also called in the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). After conferring with ATF agents about the case the afternoon of Rash's arrest, Taylor said they'd told him with the US District Attorney in Greenville about the possibility of federal charges being filed against Rash.

Taylor said Friday afternoon that federal charges are still an option.

Copyright 2012 - The Union Daily Times, S.C.

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