Bomb Hoaxes Still Plaguing Naval Base San Diego
Our top story on midday edition. Susan mentioned, every year on Memorial Day we honor the sacrifices in the service of military personnel. It's a day when with a special significance, home to many sailors, and veterans . Lately cover something strange going on at a Navy base and how. More than two that - two doesn't bow down to. That is information leading to an arrest. I spoke with Gunnar Newquist, a special agent in charge with the Naval criminal investigative service . Gunnar Newquist. Thanks for joining us . Thanks for having me . 20 bomb threats in six months, has any other Naval base experiences level of their . No, not this level. There are few and the Northwest. There've been a couple back in Northville. But to have 24 and five months is dramatic, for sure . Have they all been hoaxes? Every found anything that suggests any kind of device or any assault having been planned? None, whatsoever . We did have one that was all. We were able to determine it was the young petty officer in the neighbor Navy the covenant . Because of the nature of these threats there on the side of a ship or in a potty while . So you mentioned that there was somebody had been identified in one of these threat cases. What was the outcome of identifying their particular suspect # And all of our cases we prefer the investigation to the interrogation and presented to the Navy. The Navy is in the process just now. Going to an article 32. The judicial process has begun. We expect a trial to be heard shortly . What do the messages actually look like question expect for the listening audience, they are short-term. They say a time or day in the name of the ship. Sometimes we have edges that have been placed in the side of the plastic wall. There's not a lot to work with . USA many have been found inside portable toilets? Absolutely. We've had 24, 11 on the shipyard and 11 Invesco. More than half of them have literally been in those blue Porta parties that are set outside for the construction workers are shipping workers to work in . What does it take? Lots of different things. The Porta parties provide 360 to be screening. Obviously they are built for privacy and it also makes it difficult for us to resolve. We believe the motivation for the individual or individuals is to disrupt the day, whether to get time off from work or to disrupt the work that is going on here . I know many people are familiar with the two reports this year of active shooters at the Naval medical Center. No shooters were found at either time. Are these incidents that you are finding at the naval base linked in any way, do you think, with those at the medical center? Not directly linked, no. The nature of the crime cup both of those were, one was called in and the other was one of the employees that they heard gunshots going off . I think indirectly it creates a sense of fear. It's a phenomenon happening across the United States. The people are on edge . Gunner, he said that perhaps one of the motivations was just to disrupt the day. What does happen when a threat gets found at Naval base San Diego? We treat and have been treating each of these as if it was an actual threat, there is a bomb potentially on the ship or on the pier. It causes the Navy to shut down Kai-shek on all work, remove people from the ship, we bring in dogs to the ships. This can take several hours cut depending on the size of the vessel and depending on where the event occurred . It must cost a lot . A S quite a bit of money. It's hard to put down into dollars. Would you take the average salary of a worker and multiply it times always lost, times number of workers. Word to hundreds of dough thousands of dollars. These ships are being worked on so they can be redeployed. It has impact of the Navy's readiness. Ultimately it will cost them even more money. It goes right back to the taxpayers. We are trying to save the taxpayers monies . In your investigation, gunner, are there any ideas as to why San Diego is being targeted? Were the largest fleet concentration of anywhere in the world. Unfortunately we had an incident that has grown. As were frustrated being able to sell it right away, it has caused additional, copycats . It's a close facility. It's likely someone that has access question marks back I do believe it is someone with access. Both on the Navy base and in the system shipyard, it's a wide area . There was just that quarter-mile black - block. These yards are getting the pair worked on. The chance of $10,000 reward obviously probably would not break up a terrorist group, but what you are assuming is that these threats are being made by hoaxers. Who are you hoping comes forward? It's been my experience that people, when they commit a crime - they discuss it with someone. Often times we like to see the CSI phenomenon were there some neat science trick that allows us to determine who did it. In reality there usually resolved by talking with people. In this case, I'm hoping there's somebody in the community who may have overheard conversation, maybe been in a bar in her people bragging about what they did and they can help us identify the person . Is there any reason why the larger community should be concerned about these threats? . No I don't think so. These threats are concerned because they have an impact on the taxpayer dollars. The reality is I don't see it spreading to others - yards . Gunner new quests, special agent in charge. Class
Navy officials reported yet another bomb threat found at Naval Base San Diego last week, marking the 24th threat at the base since November. All of the threats have been hoaxes.
Most of the threats have been brief messages scrawled in stairwells or portable toilets, though there aren’t enough words for standard handwriting analysis, according to Naval Criminal Investigative Service Special Agent In Charge Gunnar Newquist.
No other Naval base in the country is seeing that many threats, Newquist said.
“We believe the motivation for the individual or individuals — it’s most likely more than one person — is to disrupt the day, whether that be to get some time off from work or to disrupt the work that’s going on on the pier,” he told KPBS Midday Edition.
Newquist said the Navy must shut down all work at the shipyards until the threat is cleared, usually after a few hours. He said the work stoppages have cost taxpayers "hundreds of thousands" of dollars and impacted Navy readiness. Crews are typically repairing ships for deployment.
Newquist added that he does not believe the hoaxes are related to two unfounded reports of gunmen earlier this year at Naval Medical Center San Diego.