Ashland police arrest man in car-bomb case

ASHLAND — Police arrested a 20-year-old man at his home Thursday for attempting to blow up an Ashland Police Department squad car in October 2007.

Brian J. Campbell of the 300 block of Palm Avenue was charged with criminal mischief, possession of a destructive device, reckless burning and trespassing in connection with an explosion in the gas tank of a police car around 2 a.m. on Oct. 23, 2007.

The car was parked overnight in a secured city parking lot on North Mountain Avenue for repairs to its computer when the bomb detonated, said Officer Bon Stewart, who is investigating the case.

No one was injured and the damage was limited because the cap was not on the gas tank, he said.

The next day, pieces of a seal bomb — used by commercial fisherman to scare away seals — were found on the ground and inside the gas filler tube, Stewart said. A permit is required to possess seal bombs, which Campbell did not have, according to police.

Police submitted a fingerprint found at the scene but no match was found until recently, when Campbell was arrested on another charge and his fingerprint came back a match, said Sgt. Jim Alderman.

Early evidence pointed to Campbell, and the additional evidence confirmed police suspicions enough to allow police to make an arrest, Stewart said. Additional suspects believed to be involved in the case are still being investigated, he said.

Campbell was lodged at the Jackson County Jail on $15,000 bail. He was no longer in custody this morning.

In the last 10 years, this was the third attempt to blow up or burn an Ashland police car, Stewart said.

"All three of those were at night, and the cars were parked in that same lot but away from where anybody would be, and I think that's what made them appealing to whoever decided to try it," he said.

Reporter Julie French can be reached at 482-3456 ext. 227 or

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