A suspicious package found Monday was determined not to be a bomb. (Port Angeles Police Department)

A suspicious package found Monday was determined not to be a bomb. (Port Angeles Police Department)

Port Angeles man held on $75,000 bail for suspicious device

Judge orders mental health evaluation

PORT ANGELES — Bail was set at $75,000 on Tuesday for a Port Angeles man accused of leaving what appeared to be two bombs on 1000 block of East First Street on Monday.

John W. Spradlin, 55, was arrested for investigation of second-degree malicious placement of an imitation device and an outstanding warrant after Port Angeles police discovered a suspicious device under a tarp in the parking lot at 1026 E. First St.

The discovery and subsequent examination by a State Patrol bomb squad resulted in a closure of East First Street from about 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Monday.

“With the assistance of the WSP Bomb Squad, the suspicious device was determined to not be an explosive device, but appeared to be designed specifically to look like one,” police said Monday.

Judge Lauren Erickson of Clallam County Superior Court on Tuesday set Spradlin’s bail and ordered him to have a mental health evaluation.

The Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will consider filing a formal charge or charges against Spradlin at 3 p.m. Thursday.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Roberson had requested a $30,000 bail for Spradlin, who refused to leave his jail cell to attend the hearing.

“I’m not trying to sound like I’m outdoing the state — that’s not how I mean this — but I’m going to put bail at $75,000,” Erickson said in the hearing.

“I understand Mr. Spradlin is homeless, but I read more and more stories about bail reform groups coming and posting bail for people, which is their right, but I think in that context, I think $75,000 is going to be the least restrictive alternative to guarantee Mr. Spradlin gets back to court and the safety of the community.”

Spradlin was charged May 7 for failing to register as a sex offender. A warrant was issued June 11 after he failed to appear for a hearing in that case, court papers show.

“Here, the court has found probable cause for malicious placement of an imitation device, second degree,” Roberson said.

“The placement of that device shut down a busy public highway so that the State Patrol could come and X-ray it. He had caused significant alarm and concern, and I think that goes to public safety.”

Roberson said the state’s “greater concern” was the discovery of a second device that was nearly capable of being detonated.

“The only thing lacking was black powder and something that would make it hot, something like a battery, according to the probable cause statement,” Roberson said.

Police allegedly found a tube of black powder on Spradlin.

“While Mr. Spradlin does have a history of mental health issues, I think that when one mixes the possibility of explosives, and that this device was only lacking that black powder and a battery, and it was left in a public area, I think that heightens the state’s safety concerns significantly,” Roberson said.

Police alleged in the arrest narrative that Spradlin had phoned an FBI tip line and threatened to “start executing m—- f———.”

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at [email protected].

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