National Guard Bomb Suspect Held

Thursday, July 20th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A man was arrested Thursday on suspicion of breaking into an Air National Guard base, scrawling graffiti on buildings and leaving behind a bag containing two bombs.

Authorities, acting on a tip from a hot line, arrested the man at his Milwaukee home, FBI special agent David J. Williams said. The 36-year-old suspect, who has worked in the past as a pilot, has a local arrest record related to graffiti, Williams said.

A bomb squad was searching his apartment Thursday, authorities said.

The man was expected to appear in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee later in the day, Williams said.

The FBI said an intruder scrawled graffiti reading ``Free Kosova'' on a satellite dish early Wednesday at the 128th Air Refueling Wing compound. Kosova is an Albanian spelling of Kosovo.

The man's nationality was not immediately known, Williams said.

Williams did not know what type of pilot the man was and said he had no credentials that would have allowed him to get past the complex gate, Williams said. It was unclear how the intruder got in, Williams said.

As security guards chased the intruder, he dropped a bag containing two pipe bomb-type devices.

The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department defused the devices later Wednesday.

During the NATO air strikes in Yugoslavia in 1999, aimed at ending ethnic repression by Serb forces against ethnic Albanians, the 128th Air Refueling Wing sent about 170 members to a base outside London, where they serviced aircraft flying in NATO's air operations in Kosovo.

Lt. Col. Jim Waters defended security measures at the base.

``Our security forces did their job and prevented something from happening that was much worse,'' he said.