OCEAN PARK — Deputies on March 9 arrested a Peninsula man who is suspected of manufacturing a bomb and using it to intimidate an ex-girlfriend.
A woman called 911 on Saturday evening, after Justice Vincent Webb, 24, of Ocean Park, used Facebook Messenger to send her photos of a homemade explosive device, according to a probable cause statement.
The device, which was a little larger than a cigarette lighter, consisted of a gray plastic cylinder covered in yellow tape that was used to attach clear plastic baggies of black or smokeless powder. There was a small drill bit protruding from one end.
One photo showed a man’s hand holding the device. The man was wearing a camouflage sweatshirt that the victim recognized, because she bought it for Webb. Another photo showed the tools and objects used to make the device. They included BB shot and a variety of lead and copper shells that appeared to have been pried from their casings.
The ex-girlfriend said she wasn’t sure what spurred the photos, as Webb had picked up her sick cat for her earlier the same day. However, she said the pictures concerned her because Webb allegedly has a history of significant mental health issues and volatile behavior.
Webb initially told the victim he didn’t send the photos, saying his bank and Facebook accounts had been hacked. He then accused the victim of “setting him up,” the deputy’s statement said.
Webb, who had been staying with his uncle, was taken into custody as he and his uncle were leaving the property. He denied contacting the victim about anything but her sick cat, and told deputies he’d been hacked.
Deputies served a search warrant on the uncle’s property in the 26000 block of Sandridge Road around midnight. They found all of the items shown in the pictures. The improvised explosive device had been buried in the back yard.
Webb allegedly confessed to making the device after it was found, saying he was a “firearms activist.” He said he wanted to detonate some tannerite, a legal explosive substance, but instead decided to make an IED. Webb said he used his knowledge of how shotgun shells are constructed to make the device. He told police he had no intention of using it to threaten or harm anyone, and had simply wanted to “impress” his ex. However, he acknowledged he did consider detonating it on a tree stump to “see what would happen,” according to the deputy. He explained that he wasn’t aware it was illegal to make a homemade bomb until his ex became upset and he looked up the law. At that point, Webb reportedly got scared and decided to bury it.
A Washington State Patrol bomb squad traveled to Ocean Park to dig up the bomb. They analyzed the device, and found that it had no detonator, and therefore was not a viable explosive. Webb’s uncle said he’d seen the grenade-like device the previous day, and told his nephew to get it out of the house.
Under Washington law, a person must have a special license from the state Department of Labor and Industries to possess an IED, or the ingredients for an IED. Webb was not licensed. He is charged with criminal attempt and possession of explosives without a license. As of March 19, Webb remains in Pacific County Jail on a $20,000 bond.