BRANDON, FL — A 23-year-old Sarasota man faces a list of criminal charges after his allegedly bizarre behavior captured the attention of employees at a Brandon Home Depot store. According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Kenneth Iversen was spotted by employees at the 9941 Adamo Drive store on Feb. 5 attempting to select materials that would go into making a pipe bomb.
“When confronted by store personnel, Iversen uttered ‘Allahu akbar’ before fleeing and dropping a large knife,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a Wednesday email to media.
That encounter prompted Home Depot employees to contact the sheriff’s office. An investigation into the incident was launched.
Deputies say Iversen returned to the Brandon store again on Tuesday, Feb. 7. The store was under “covert surveillance” at the time. Detectives say Iversen once again selected items that would be used to make a pipe bomb. Home Depot employees approached him and he left the premises, driving off in a 2012 Chrysler 300.
At that time, two marked Hillsborough County patrol units attempted to perform a traffic stop on Iversen, but he failed to stop.
The two marked cruisers stopped chasing Iversen when he proceeded at a high rate of speed, the sheriff’s office said. Three unmarked cars and a sheriff’s office helicopter, however, continued to follow him to an address in the 4900 block of South 78th Street in Tampa. Detectives say Iversen got out of the Chrysler, carrying a small toolbox. When he was approached by detectives, he took off on foot and tossed the tool box.
Detectives were able to find the tool box and found “a small threaded pipe that resembled a pipe bomb,” the email said. “Upon arrest, a clear glass pipe that tested positive for methamphetamine was found in Iversen’s pants pockets,” the email added.
Investigators learned after Iversen’s arrest that he lives in Sarasota with his mother. A search of the home was conducted Tuesday night in conjunction with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Sarasota County Fire Department and the FBI. No further evidence or hazardous materials were found, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.
Iversen was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail on fleeing and attempting to elude, resisting an officer without violence, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia charges.
The investigation remains active with no further information being released at this time. The FBI also confirmed Wednesday that it is continuing to assist in the investgiation, but would offer no further comment.
Update: No criminal charges though