Charlottesville police have arrested a city man on charges related to a possible explosive device that was disabled Monday by Virginia State Police in a controlled detonation.
Robert Jamal Pryor, 34, was charged with possession of an explosive device, possession of marijuana, expired registration and no valid inspection sticker.
Whether the device actually was an improvised explosive has not been determined. However, state law permits prosecution of someone who possesses items that appear to be explosive devices.
The device was sent to the state lab in Richmond for further examination and analysis, according to police.
The incident began shortly after 9 a.m. when a city police officer pulled over a vehicle near Locust Avenue and Sycamore Street for having expired license plates and no current safety inspection, city Police Chief RaShall Brackney said.
The officer reported noticing the smell of marijuana in the car and asked the driver for permission to search the vehicle, Brackney said. During that search, officers found a cylindrical package and brought in the department’s new bomb-sniffing dog, Brewster.
Brewster alerted police to the device and police closed down the intersection, sought a search warrant for the vehicle and called the state police for help.
“Once we looked at the device that we had found, which was very cylindrical in shape, and [state police] took X-rays of that, it was determined that we would do a disruption of the device,” Brackney said.
Bomb technicians examined the device, submerged it in water and used a controlled explosive detonation to disable it in case it was a bomb, she said.
Brewster checked the vehicle again for possible bomb components, including blasting caps, ammunition, fireworks and other items that could be used in making an explosive device, but found nothing else, Brackney said.
Locust Avenue was reopened around 1 p.m., but a section of Sycamore Street between Locust Avenue and Grove Avenue remained closed for much of the day as police investigated the vehicle.