A Southern states fugitive, arrested in Provo early Thursday morning, continued to keep police officers busy throughout the day.
George F. Laura, 28, arrested in connection with auto theft and possession of an illegal firearm, a sawed-off shotgun, told police to stay away from his vehicle because the trunk was wired with explosives. He said it was wired with C-4, a multiple plastic explosive.The man later told officers that nothing was in the car, but police approached the situation as if explosives were involved. The department's Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit spent several hours to ensure safe entry into the car trunk.
The car was taken to a remote area near Slate Canyon and the lock was sprung with an explosives detonator cord, but only clothing, newspapers and phone books from various cities across the United States were found inside.
Police took precautionary steps because their own detonator could discharge any other explosives in the trunk, Officer Duane Fraser said.
An earlier search by a K-9 unit indicated dogs detected a slight scent of explosives, but Police Chief Swen Nielsen said that scent could have come from residue left after handling shotgun shells.
The dogs also detected marijuana in the car. The man was carrying the drug at the time of his arrest, Nielsen said.
"Our only alternative was to remotely enter the trunk of the car to ensure the safety of everybody," he said.
Provo police said Laura had nine different aliases and three different Social Security numbers. He has convictions for four separate escapes in various states and an extensive police record.
The man is wanted on an escape charge out of Volusia County, Fla., and for auto theft in Hartville, Ga. The car he was driving was reportedly stolen from Biloxi, Miss.
Laura has served prison terms in Kansas and South Carolina. Provo police were still waiting to hear from law enforcement agencies in Kansas and Texas. Nielsen did not know if the man had escaped from prison or was on parole.
Provo police officer Skylar Di-mick initially stopped Laura and his wife, Joyce, 36, on a traffic violation. The couple left the car on foot and were later arrested at a northwest Provo motel at 1 a.m. Mrs. Laura was released Thursday afternoon.
Nielsen said Provo police will most likely let each state extradite the man.