Despite concerns, man with pipe bomb granted diversion |

Despite concerns, man with pipe bomb granted diversion

by Rachel Spacek

A Minden man was granted diversion after entering a guilty plea to possessing a pipe bomb in his residence.

Aaron J. Leval, 23, was arrested on possession of an explosive or incendiary device in or near a public or private place and possession of paraphernalia charges. Leval was arrested in July after deputies responded to the 1300 block of Bridle Way on a report of found drug paraphernalia.

The reporting party told deputies she was cleaning Leval’s room when she found two hypodermic needles and other items of paraphernalia. On scene, deputies searched the room and found glass with a white powder residue, several broken pipes with residue, spoons with residue, punctured carbon dioxide cartridges and a small bag with white residue. Deputies also located a small tube covered with black tape, they noticed both ends were covered with black tape and at the top was white plastic. There also appeared to be a fuse protruding from the white plastic cap. The Douglas County Explosive Ordinance Disposal team was called to dispose of the pipe bomb. In their reports, deputies noted the pipe bomb was found close to a crib where Leval’s daughter often sleeps.

The prosecutor, Ric Casper, said the pipe bomb was made of PVC pipe and had firework powder inside of it. Defense attorney Maria Pence said Leval made the device when he was high after the Fourth of July. Judge Thomas Gregory was concerned about the bomb and asked Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Leland Love to testify on what damage he thought the bomb could do.

Love said the bomb had about the powder equivalent of a small Black Cat firework.

He said if someone held the device as it went off, that individual may have severe damage to their hand and may need amputation on a finger. Love said he believed if you were further away when the device was set off, you would feel the pipe, but would not receive more than maybe a few cuts from the pipe.

Love said he believed the bomb to be a “souped-up” firework, rather than a weapon.

Leval told the court he had only the intention of building a bigger firework, when he built the bomb. He also said it was a foolish thing to do, and he would not have done it if he wasn’t on methamphetamine.

Due to the facts that the bomb seemed to be nothing more than a big firework, and Leval admitting to having a drug problem, Gregory granted him a diversion program. He will enter the Salvation Army Program.

A Vallejo, Calif., man involved in a firearm burglary was sentenced to serve prison time for all three charges he faced.

Lance J. Thompson, 33, was sentenced to 72 months on count one, a burglary charge, 48 months on count two, ex-felon in possession of a firearm and 36 months on count three, possession of a stolen weapon. His sentences will run concurrently.

Thompson was arrested in September on two charges of carrying a concealed weapon, two ex-felon in possession of a firearm, two receiving or possession of a stolen weapon charges and a burglary charge.

On Sept. 21, deputies responded to a vehicle burglary call to Dart Liquor. The reporting party said she saw a subject rummaging through a car. She took a photo of the subject. About an hour later, deputies observed the suspect. They made contact and asked if he had weapons on him. Thompson revealed a Sig Sauer P 238 handgun concealed on his person. He also had a Springfield XD-45ACP handgun concealed on his person.

Later, deputies found the Sig Sauer was taken in a residential burglary in Vallejo, Calif., along with 13 handguns and $17,000 cash. Upon searching Thompson, deputies found 48 $100 bills and eight $2 bills. Both the Sig Sauer and the Springfield guns were missing from the Vallejo burglary.

In court, Thompson told Gregory he believes the root of his problem is substance abuse, he also said he wanted to show the court he is serious about getting sober for his 1-year old son. Thompson had gotten himself into two inpatient treatment programs, however the court sentenced him to prison time.

A Gardnerville man admitted to eluding a police officer in court on Monday and is facing a maximum sentence of 72 months in prison.

Daniel E. McDonald, 32, was arrested after deputies began to pursue his vehicle up and down Main Street on Nov. 21. According to reports, McDonald was placing people and property at risk due to his high speed of travel and his refusal to obey traffic signals. According to reports, officers ended the pursuit due to the high risk it posed.

Later the same evening, McDonald allegedly entered a Gardnerville convenience store and took two sparkling sport waters. Ten minutes later he entered Carson Valley Medical Center and said he was suicidal and wanted to be killed. Officers arrested him there on eluding a police officer, theft and robbery charges.

McDonald claimed in court to have been on methamphetamine during the police chase. He faces sentencing on Feb. 5.