BRIDGETON, MO (KTVI) – Concerned employees at a local Home Depot are being credited for the arrest of 44-year-old man suspected of buying materials to make pipe bombs. The FBI is now investigating.
According to a spokesman for the Bridgeton Police Department, officers were called to the Bridgeton Home Depot store on Wednesday over a customer’s suspicious activity.
Employees at the hardware store said a man bought a 1¼-inch diameter pipe and requested that it be cut into 7½-inch long sections, with each end threaded for a cap. Police arrived at the store while the pipes were being threaded for the man.
Officers spoke with the customer, identified as Douglas Herr, and took him into custody. The learned Herr, a native of Chatham, Illinois, was staying at a Super 8 Hotel on St. Charles Rock Road and obtained a search warrant for the room. Investigators discovered 25 pounds of gunpowder, pipe end caps, and fuse wires – materials used to make pipe bombs.
A woman staying there told Fox 2 she’d seen him coming and going. The news stunned her. She asked not to be identified.
“I really can’t believe it once you showed me the picture. Looking at him coming in and out I wouldn’t expect that he would be doing such things,” she said.
His intended target is still unknown, authorities said.
There were thanks all around for the Home Depot workers. “I think that was a good thing, them being on their job, recognizing the things he was buying, and knowing that those are the types of things he could be making bombs with,” said the woman staying at the hotel, adding that those workers saved lives. “They really did. No telling what his intention was to do.”
Herr has been living out of hotels in the St. Louis area for quite a while, authorities said. He's been convicted of robbery and assault in the area here the past two years but sentenced to probation.
The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Herr with unlawful possession, transportation, manufacturing, repair or sale of an illegal weapon. He remains jailed at the St. Louis County Justice Center on $250,000 cash-only bond.