News / Utah / 

No bomb found at evacuated building, suspect in custody

Posted - Aug. 23, 2010 at 4:20 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Police found no explosives at a Salt Lake apartment building they evacuated Monday morning after tenants said a resident threatened to blow up the building.

The bomb squad used a robot to check the man's apartment. The robot found no explosives and the suspect, Marvin Dohner, had left the building by then. Police took the 57-year-old into custody when he returned to his apartment Monday afternoon. He was arrested for making terroristic threats.

Police say Dohner is familiar to them. They also say he has a history of playing with explosives, so the threat was taken seriously.

Tenants called police around 9:30 a.m. saying a suicidal man was threatening to blow up his room at 1900 W. North Temple. The building is the former Days Inn but now houses formerly homeless veterans, trying to get back on their feet.

When officers arrived the door was ajar and they were able to peek inside. They did not see the man but they did see items that caused them concern, but a police spokesman could not say what that was. They called in the bomb squad and evacuated tenants.


He does have a history of blowing things up.

–Detective Pat Wilkinson


About 80 people live in the building but it's not clear how many were home at the time of the evacuation. The evacuees gathered at the nearby Sky Harbor apartments for several hours while bomb technicians checked the building.

Evacuees say Donher threatened to blow up the building Sunday night, but they didn't believe he was serious.

"He was just a little off center, you know, but he didn't seem dangerous to me," said neighbor Bob Anderson. "You don't like to be woken up and asked to be evacuated, but sure would rather have that than them having to try and find me in the rubble."

One neighbor said he did hear Donher say, "Wait ‘til we see what happens tomorrow."

Police say it's possible he could face charges once the investigation is complete.

Salt Lake police Detective Pat Wilkinson says the man has a past history with small explosives and mental instability, but he has never hurt anyone.

"We have to find him and talk to him and find out what his situation is and what his status is and see if we can get him help first, based on that he's having these suicidal thoughts," Wilkinson said.

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Story compiled with information from Sandra Yi and Nkoyo Iyamba.

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