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Feds take lead in post-office bomb threat
Local man faces federal charges after attempted robbery at Thornburg post office

 Police shut down Mudd Tavern Road for hours on Wednesday to investigate an attempted robbery at the Thornburg Post Office.
REZA MARVASHTI/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 1/17/2013

BY PORTSIA SMITH

A local man faces federal charges after an attempted robbery at the Thornburg Post Office early Wednesday.

Around 9 a.m., a postal worker called police to say a man there claimed to have a bomb and was demanding money from a worker at the Post Office at 5314 Mudd Tavern Road, said Capt. Jeff Pearce of the Spotsylvania Sheriff's Office.

Pearce said the man had a paper bag containing a box that he described as an explosive device armed with a mercury switch.

Within minutes, Spotsylvania deputies arrived and surrounded the building east of U.S. 1.

The man, described as a white male in his early 50s and a retired truck driver, surrendered about 15 minutes later.

He was immediately taken to the Spotsylvania Sheriff's Office for questioning, Pearce said.

Mudd Tavern Road was blocked off from Interstate 95 to U.S. 1 for more than 51/2 hours while a bomb squad inspected the box. The road re-opened around 2:45 p.m. after the bomb was determined to be fake.

Pearce said it was a "fictitious device used in order to commit a robbery of the post office."

Mike Romano of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service said the case is now a federal investigation.

He said additional information, such as the suspect's name and his charges, should be released today after a federal complaint is filed.

Darlene Grimm, who lives on Morris Road about two miles away from the Post Office, went to the scene. There, she said she saw about 20 police cars. A woman ran out of the building after it had been surrounded.

Grimm said police entered a nearby laundromat to warn patrons about the unfolding threat.

She also said she and other people near the scene witnessed a man being wrestled to the ground by police some time later.

"I really couldn't imagine what was going on at first," Grimm said. "I thought it was a robbery, but when the woman ran out, I started thinking it might be a bomb or a hostage situation."

The female postal worker was the only employee in the post office at the time.

She declined to talk to a reporter, other than to say she was doing fine.

Reporter Lindley Estes contributed to this story.

Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419
Email: psmith@fredericksburg.com