Mall security guard arrested in series of bomb hoaxes

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CARLSBAD, Calif. — A 21-year-old man was arrested Wednesday for allegedly orchestrating bogus bomb emergencies at his home and at two San Diego-area malls where he worked as a security guard.

Abraham Nava of Vista is suspected of making five bogus reports since 2012, according to police in Carlsbad, where the most recent in the series of false alarms occurred last month.

On Sept. 12, Nava reported finding a black plastic pipe with wires protruding from it in a public restroom at Westfield Carlsbad on El Camino Real, prompting a several-hour evacuation of the shopping center while a bomb squad investigated and destroyed the mock pipe bomb, Lt. Chris Boyd said.

During the emergency, Nava allegedly told officers he had found a similar device while working security at Horton Plaza in San Diego several months earlier.

Investigators subsequently learned that the suspect also had reported finding graffiti at the Gaslamp District shopping center indicating the presence of bombs or the possibility of a shooting there, the lieutenant said.

Additionally, detectives determined that the suspect has made three reports in as many years about finding suspicious devices outside the apartment complex where he lives, according to Boyd. And six days after the bomb scare at the Carlsbad mall, Nava allegedly reported finding graffiti on the walls of a hallway there, stating that a shooting would occur that day.

None of the threats turned out to be valid, according to police.

At the end of a lengthy interview at Carlsbad police headquarters Wednesday, the suspect complained of chest pain. Medics took him to a hospital for an evaluation, after which he was expected to be booked into county jail on various charges, including making criminal threats.

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