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Southwest Plaza mall bomb suspect Earl Albert Moore arrested in Boulder area

Earl Albert Moore
CBS/KCNC/FBI
Suspect arrested in bomb left at Colorado mall
Earl Albert Moore
AP Photo/FBI

(CBS/KCNC) BOULDER, Colo. - Earl Albert Moore, the 65-year-old suspect in last week's attempted bombing at the Southwest Plaza mall in Littleton, Colo., has been taken into custody in the Boulder area.

A nationwide manhunt had been ongoing since federal officials identified Earl Albert Moore as the suspect on Sunday.

Officials told CBS station KCNC that the arrest came after a tip from the public that someone thought they saw Moore at a local grocery store.

Moore, who has an extensive criminal background, is suspected of planting a bomb and propane tanks at Southwest Plaza on April 20. He was released from prison in Georgia a week before the incident.

The incident started with fire crews putting out a small fire at the mall. Authorities then found a pipe bomb and two small propane tanks that failed to detonate. The materials were found in an area where there are usually no shoppers, and investigators believe the bomb was meant to be a trigger for the tanks.

A source close to the investigation told KCNC that forensic evidence found at the scene is how agents were able to pinpoint the suspect and name him.

Moore was seen in security images and video released last week both in the mall and in at a bus station close to the mall. In all of the images he is carrying a large plastic bag.

Moore's criminal history includes dangerous drug possession, larceny, possession of burglary tools and fugitive arrest. He was also convicted in a bank robbery in West Virginia in March 2005. The indictment says he got away with about $2,500 and assaulted some employees. He had been serving an 18 year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Estill, S.C. The sentence was reduced to 7 years, and under the federal system inmates can earn 57 days of good time per year.

The timing of the bombing attempt - the incident happened on the 12th anniversary of the Columbine tragedy - has raised questions about whether a motive might be linked to the shooting rampage at Columbine High School, but so far that remains only speculation.

Complete coverage of the Southwest Plaza mall bomb on Crimesider