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An explosive device was found and detonated Thursday afternoon at one of Branson’s most popular tourist sites. Two people, Don Owens, who is a resident of Florida, and a woman who has yet to be identified are in jail with charges still pending. KSMU's Jennifer Moore reports.
Jerry Adams, a spokesperson for the city of Branson, said the event began shortly after noon when a security guard at Branson Landing struck up a conversation with the couple at an ATM.
“The man asked for directions. The guard told them the information. They walked away, but he noticed that they left a backpack. The guard checked the backpack, and he found that there was some suspicious material inside that looked like homemade bombs,” Adams said.
The guard contacted the Branson Police Department, who then called in the Springfield Fire Department’s bomb squad. The bomb squad removed the backpack by robot to an empty parking lot and detonated the device.
“The suspects were later arrested. And during the course of booking them into the Branson City Jail, one of the suspects, the lady—there’s a male and a female—and the female told officers they had their car parked in a garage just north of the Hilton Hotel on Branson Landing,” Adams said.
When authorities then checked out that car, they saw something else that looked like bomb making materials. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were called in from Warrensburg, Missouri, to investigate further. Adams says the ATF agents discovered only fireworks in the car. The reason why the ATF agents were called in, he says, is because the car needed to be preserved as evidence.
Adams says the couple appears to have been hoping to use the explosives to break into the ATM. He said they also had a crowbar and a screwdriver.
For KSMU News, I'm Jennifer Moore.