2 Marines In Custody Following Bomb Scare And Evacuation At South Bay Galleria
REDONDO BEACH (CBS)— Two active-duty Marines who caused the evacuation of a parking lot and several stores near a Redondo Beach shopping center were in custody Friday after non-lethal stun grenades were found in a pickup truck they were driving, police said.
The Redondo Beach Police Department was notified by U.S. Marine Corps personnel around 8:10 p.m. Thursday that the two Marines were driving a white Dodge pickup in the city while in possession of explosives, said Capt. Jeff Hink of the Redondo Beach Police Department.
Officers found the pickup in the parking lot of the Living Spaces furniture store at 1519 Hawthorne Boulevard, adjacent to the South Bay Galleria shopping center, and detained Devin Gajewski, 24, and Thomas Bazer, 20, who were standing next to the vehicle, Hink said.
The men, who are stationed at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Station Twentynine Palms, admitted to having explosive devices in the pickup, he said.
“Officers cordoned off the parking lot and evacuated the Living Spaces store and an adjacent Target and Nordstrom Rack store” and called in a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department bomb squad, said Hink.
About three hours after the pickup was found, the bomb squad, which used a robot to investigate the devices, recovered 10 “military artillery simulator training aids” from the vehicle, he said.
“These devices, similar in nature to law enforcement flashbang devices, are commonly used by the military during training sessions to get soldiers accustomed to the sound of explosions,” Hink said.
Gajewski and Bazer were taken into custody by Naval Criminal Investigative Services agents, according to Hink, who said NCIS would investigate why the two were in Redondo Beach with the devices, Hink said.
“We towed the vehicle and we turned them over to NCIS,” he said.
A public affairs officer at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)