Driver of stolen van claimed to have explosives at San Onofre nuclear power plant

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PENDLETON, Calif. — A man drove a stolen van onto the grounds of the now- idled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station and claimed to have explosives in the vehicle, drawing a response from the San Diego County sheriff’s bomb squad, which determined that there was no danger, authorities said Wednesday.

The driver, 27-year-old Erik Jon Norman, was arrested on suspicion of felony vehicle theft, San Diego County sheriff’s Sgt. Pamela Wotkyns said.

Sheriff’s deputies went to the nuclear station a little after 4:20 p.m. Tuesday after security officers reported that Norman drove a white delivery van past the entrance gate and into a restricted parking lot, Wotkyns said. The security guards quickly detained Norman, but he told them the van contained electronic equipment and “possible explosives.”

The sheriff’s department’s bomb/arson unit was called to the scene but determined the van contained no explosives, only standard shipping parcels, Wotkyns said. Deputies later discovered the van was reported stolen earlier in the day from Oceanside and arrested Norman, taking him to the Vista Detention Center where he remained in custody Wednesday in lieu of $25,000 bail.

He’s charged with vehicle theft but additional charges could be added. ┬áHis first court appearance is scheduled for Thursday.