Watch CBS News

Man Arrested In Aliso Viejo Blast That Killed Ex

LONG BEACH (CBSLA/AP) — A Long Beach man has been arrested in connection with a blast last year which killed his ex-girlfriend at her Aliso Viejo day spa and seriously injured two other women.

Agents Sunday morning burst into the Long Beach home of 59-year-old Stephen Beal and arrested him without incident. Officials were expected to release more information about the arrest and the fatal blast at a news conference in Orange Monday morning, according to Laura Eimiller of the FBI's Los Angeles Office.

Aliso Viejo Stephen Beale
An undated photo of Stephen Beale, 59, who was arrested following an explosion at a business in Aliso Viejo, Calif., on May 15, 2018.

The FBI spent Sunday scouring his home in Long Beach. Eimiller declined to detail the charges but confirmed the arrest is directly connected with the May 15, 2018, bombing that killed 48-year-old Ildiko Krajnyak in the spa which she owned. Krajnyak was killed when she opened a brown cardboard package that had been on the floor near the front counter of the spa. Two other women who were in the day spa at the time of the explosion suffered significant burns and other injuries.

Beal was previously arrested on May 16, just one day after the blast. However, that arrest was not directly tied to the blast. At the time, investigators reported finding two improvised explosive devices, three unregistered firearms and more than 100 pounds of explosive material during a search of his Long Beach house.

He was charged only in federal court with possession of an unregistered destructive device. Federal prosecutors said further examination by the FBI raised questions as to whether the item met the definition of a `destructive device' set out in federal law, and prosecutors later brought a motion to dismiss the charges, which was granted May 29.

In November, sheriff's and FBI investigators said they were continuing to look for a suspect and asked for the public's help.

Beal told investigators at the time that he an Krajnyak had split up in part over finances, according to a court affidavit. Until Sunday, Beal had not been officially named a suspect in the blast. At one point, Beal and Krainyak were also business partners.

Authorities say more than 1,000 pieces of evidence were collected from the crime scene, 300 of which were sent to FBI's Laboratory Division in Quantico, Virginia, to be examined. Investigators have also accumulated "terrabytes of digital media and hours of surveillance footage."

CBS2 observed a group of FBI agents doing a meticulous search of his home Sunday, including looking through rain gutters for evidence.

Agents, who were being tight-lipped, were seen going over the exterior of the home with a flashlight. Earlier in the day, they removed the garage door and were also going through it with a fine tooth comb.

Neighbors told CBS2 the agents began to swarm their street just after 9 a.m.

"We knew what was going on from before," neighbor Amanda Webber said. "We heard what was going on from before, so I just figured they're back. Trying to figure out what was going on."

Detectives in Long Beach said they were reopening a case into the death of another Beal love interest -- his late wife who reportedly died while moving furniture back in 2008.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.