Two Suspects Identified and Arrested in Connection to a Van Containing Explosives in Philadelphia

October 30, 2020Joshua Skovlund
Officers searching the van Wed. night. Photo courtesy of @samoor1955/Twitter

Officers searching the van Wed. night. Photo courtesy of @samoor1955/Twitter

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced, in a press release, the charges against two men for possessing illegal explosives found in a van that was stopped on Wednesday in the Center City neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

“These individuals who have been charged today tried to use a message of justice to provide cover for their own gain,” said Attorney General Shapiro in the press release. “This is an incredibly challenging time for communities in Philadelphia, across Southeast Pennsylvania, and around the country. We will not allow criminals to hijack, and take advantage of, lawful protests as an opportunity to sow chaos.”

Philadelphia Police Department officers were responding to a commercial burglary alarm on Wednesday night when they observed a group of 10 to 15 “staged vehicles” in a parking lot. Officers saw the vehicles leave the parking lot as a “unit” and pursued the vehicles after they attempted to ram a Target parking lot barricade.  

Officers then followed the convoy down Interstate 76 toward Center City and ultimately the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. A van from the convoy pulled over, and the driver removed tape that was covering the license plate. Officers pulled over the vehicle at 18th Street and the parkway and detained the occupants of the van.

The Philadelphia Police Department patch is worn on the uniform of Lt. Austin Fraser, Philadelphia Police Department Firearms Training Unit, May 11, 2017, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. US Air Force photo by Roland Balik, courtesy of DVIDS.

Philadelphia Police Department and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives officers then searched the van and found explosives in the form of dynamite, a handheld propane tank torch, a taser, electric drills, bolt cutters, and machetes. The driver and a passenger from the van were arrested. 

The items found in the van are commonly used to force access to ATMs in order to steal the money within them, according to the press release. There have been approximately 30 ATM bombings in Philadelphia in the last four days.

The two men in the van were identified as Brian Larue and Eric Murray. They have been charged with possession of weapons of mass destruction, conspiracy, and risking a catastrophe, along with multiple misdemeanor charges. The investigation is still ongoing, according to Shapiro.

“Possessing illegal explosive devices presents great danger to the general public, first responders and all citizens alike,” said Matthew Varisco, special agent in charge of the ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division, in the press release. “Thanks to the outstanding work of the investigative agencies involved to include the Philadelphia Police Department Bomb Squad and the Attorney General’s Office, unimaginable criminal acts were undoubtedly prevented.”

Joshua Skovlund
Joshua Skovlund

Joshua Skovlund is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die. He covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. After five years as in paramedicine, he transitioned to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
Coffee Or Die Photo
From the Team Room to Team Room Design: An Operator’s Creative Journey

BRCC partners with Team Room Design for an exclusive T-shirt release!

Coffee Or Die Photo
Get Your Viking On: The Exclusive 30 Sec Out BRCC Shirt Club Design

Thirty Seconds Out has partnered with BRCC for an exclusive shirt design invoking the God of Winter.

Grizzly Forge BRCC shirt
Limited Edition: Grizzly Forge Blades on an Awesome BRCC Shirt

Lucas O'Hara of Grizzly Forge has teamed up with BRCC for a badass, exclusive Shirt Club T-shirt design featuring his most popular knife and tiomahawk.

BRCC Limited Edition Josh Raulerson Blackbeard Skull Shirt
From Naval Service to Creative Canvas: BRCC Veteran Artist Josh Raulerson

Coffee or Die sits down with one of the graphic designers behind Black Rifle Coffee's signature look and vibe.

Medal of Honor is held up.
Biden Will Award Medal of Honor to Army Helicopter Pilot Who Rescued Soldiers in Vietnam Firefight

Biden will award the Medal of Honor to a Vietnam War Army helicopter pilot who risked his life to save a reconnaissance team from almost certain death.

dear jack mandaville
Dear Jack: Which Historic Battle Would You Want To Witness?

Ever wonder how much Jack Mandaville would f*ck sh*t up if he went back in time? The American Revolution didn't even see him coming.

west point time capsule
West Point Time Capsule Yields Centuries-Old Coins

A nearly 200-year-old West Point time capsule that at first appeared to yield little more than dust contains hidden treasure, the US Military Academy said.

  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
Contact Us
© 2024 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved