VISALIA – Police have arrested the suspect believed to be responsible for setting off a chemical explosive device at Marshalls and robbing the store last week.
Around 6:21 p.m. last Tuesday, police and the Visalia Fire Department’s hazardous materials unit responded to a call from someone at Marshalls who said that there had been an explosion at the store.
Police learned that someone had put a green soda bottle with an unknown substance inside a purse that was for sale. A chemical reaction inside the bottle caused the bottle cap to blow off, which made a loud bang.
A man was seen running out of the store through an emergency exit carrying a bag of stolen clothes. Police say they believe the explosion was a diversionary tactic to distract from the robbery.
The next day, an officer pulled over a car as part of a routine traffic stop. The driver, now identified as 40-year-old Larry Mock, sped away after giving his license to the officer. Police chased him and found the car abandoned on West Reese Street.
The car matched the description of a car seen leaving Marshalls. Police found the stolen merchandise inside the car, as well as two more bottles containing the unknown explosive.
Police were able to track down Mock to a Tulare hotel on Thursday and arrest him. He is being held in jail on suspicion of robbery, conspiracy, possession of materials with intent to make explosives, explosion with intent to injure or intimidate, and evading police.
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