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FBI: Colo. mall likely unrelated to Columbine

FBI: Colo. mall likely unrelated to Columbine

April 25th, 2011 in News

LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) - An apparent attempted bombing at a Colorado shopping mall likely was not related to the 12-year anniversary of the shootings at nearby Columbine High School, according to the FBI.

Investigators have found a motive but aren't releasing additional information, FBI Denver spokesman Dave Joly said Monday.

The agency on Sunday alerted field offices covering all 50 states and Puerto Rico to be on the lookout for Earl Albert Moore, 65.

Moore has been named the suspect in Wednesday's fire at Southwest Plaza Mall, about four miles from Columbine, where 12 students and a teacher were killed in 1999.

Authorities discovered a pipe bomb and two propane tanks after the fire, raising fears from Jefferson County Sheriff Ted Mink that the incident was timed to coincide with the anniversary.

"It is unlikely that the events of four-twenty-eleven are related to any other incident that may have occurred on that date, previously," Joly said, declining to mention Columbine by name and adding that nothing has been ruled out.

Colorado authorities said they discovered a pipe bomb and two propane tanks in a hallway of the mall's food court after firefighters responded to a fire. The explosives, which did not detonate, were found after the fire in the hallway prompted an evacuation of the mall. No one was injured.

Mink, the sheriff, noted that the times of the mall fire and the Columbine shootings were similar, as well as the use of a pipe bomb and propane tanks, which were used during the attack at the school in 1999. Authorities declined to release details about what was found at the mall.

Federal Bureau of Prisons records show that Moore was released from prison April 13 after serving time in a federal prison in Atlanta and Estill, S.C. Federal court record show that Moore pleaded guilty in May 2005 to robbing a bank in Crab Orchard, W.Va., of $2,546.

A story published in the The Register-Herald in nearby Beckley, W.Va., described the March 2005 robbery as a man with a beard entering the bank, waving a gun and demanding cash. Moore, who was arrested a short time later, did not have a beard. Authorities told the paper that the beard was a fake.

A judge sentenced Moore to 18 years in prison for the bank robbery, but a federal appeals court in 2006 ruled his stiff sentence was "unreasonable" and Moore's sentence was reduced to seven years. Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Edmond Ross said Moore received a "good conduct" release from prison after serving six years of his sentence.

Moore has an extensive criminal record and should be considered dangerous, federal officials said.

He is described as being between 6 feet and 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighing about 200 to 225 pounds. He's bald with blue eyes and a grey mustache and has a tattoo of a Viking on each of his arms.