Lakewood mall-device suspect set off '05 bomb at strip club
By Felisa Cardona The Denver Post Posted: 06/29/2011 01:00:00 AM MDT Updated: 06/29/2011 06:48:22 AM MDT David Lawless is suspected in the weekend scare at Colorado Mills.
The lone suspect in the planting of explosive devices at Colorado Mills mall in Lakewood was convicted five years ago of detonating a dry-ice bomb outside a Glendale strip club, records show.
David Joseph Lawless, 30, was arrested late Saturday by the Colorado State Patrol while driving in Clear Creek County, just hours after the devices were found in the Borders bookstore.
Police say Lawless was driving under the influence and that he resisted arrest. They also booked him on allegations of menacing with a weapon and having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle.
He's not charged with anything in the Borders case, but police identified him Tuesday as their only suspect.
Back in September 2005, Lawless was arrested for possession of an incendiary device and illegal weapon possession in Glendale. He was sentenced to two years' probation in 2006.
The 2005 incident occurred in the parking lot of Shotgun Willie 's in Glendale, where a police officer observed him trying to detonate a dry-ice bomb, said Glendale Police Chief Victor Ross.
"No one was hurt," Ross said. "Nobody was even near it. The officer watched him walk up and put it down and walk away from it, and then it exploded. Lawless was planning on targeting two more strip clubs when he was caught."
Officers searched his car and found more dry ice and gloves for handling it in his back pocket.
Ross said Lawless never gave a reason for what he was doing. Later, there was information that Lawless was taking medication for anxiety and depression.
Lawless' written confession to police said: "I was at Shotgun Willie's and detonated a dry-ice bomb. I was just trying to pull a prank. I know I was really stupid, and I will not try it ever again. I am really sorry for all the trouble I caused."
Lawless' criminal record shows prior arrests for theft under $100 and driving under the influence.
Saturday's DUI arrest was unrelated to the incident at the Borders store at Colorado Mills, but information about the suspect that was distributed to law enforcement led authorities to focus on Lawless, said Lakewood Police Chief Kevin Paletta.
The chief did not reveal a motive but said that the case is not tied to terrorism or extremist groups and that he believes the suspect acted alone.
Authorities declined to release information about the makeup of the devices found in Borders. Police discovered two "small, crude devices" after they responded to an alarm and found someone had forced their way into the store. The devices caused minimal damage to a small area inside the bookstore and no damage to the mall, officials said.
Police also learned someone had broken windows at a Best Buy near Colorado Mills.
The case remains under investigation, police said. Federal search warrants in the case are sealed.
Investigators from a variety of law enforcement agencies were still putting the pieces together early Sunday, but they made the announcement Tuesday to avert fears that a bomber was on the loose.