Man gets 20 years for planting devices at Colorado Mills shopping center

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Suspicious devices found at Colorado Mills

Suspicious devices found at Colorado Mills

DENVER — Than man who tried to blow up a book store inside the Colorado Mills mall in June 2011, will spend the next 20 years in prison and five years of supervision after his release.

“With this lengthy prison sentence, the Court has ended the Defendant’s days of building and planting dangerous destructive devices,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “The investigation into the actions of David Lawless demonstrate the collective power and determination of local, state and federal law enforcement working together to identify and arrest someone capable of violent acts.”

Investigators determined that David Joseph Lawless broke into several businesses in the Denver Metro area including the Urban Sombrero and Borders book store and planted explosive homemade bombs inside.

According to the affidavit, Lawless activated the Borders book store alarm when he shattered the entrance door.

Police found three explosives and secured the area. The bomb squad found one inside a trash bin outside the Colorado Mills mall, a second placed on a table inside Borders and a third also inside Borders. 

In the meantime, approximately ½ mile from Colorado Mills mall, police found a similar break-in at the Best Buy store. 

Best Buy’s surveillance video identified Lawless as the person smashing the front entrance door to the store. The blood splattered on the glass was linked back to Lawless.

No evidence of arson or a destructive device was recovered from the scene at Best Buy.

Later that evening, Colorado State Patrol records show an intoxicated Lawless was arrested at the s scene of a single car accident on Highway 103.  Lawless, who was accused of trying to stab troopers with scissors while being detained at the scene, was arrested for DUI.

During a search of his green Toyota Tacoma, a homemade bomb was found leading investigators to his home where components for the homemade explosives consistent with those planted at Sombrero and the book store were found.

“This case illustrates the value of information sharing and the benefit of strong working relationships at all levels of law enforcement,” said Colonel James Wolfinbarger, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “These partnerships greatly enhance the public safety of all Coloradoans.”

According to the court affidavit, the devices found in Lawless’ home and truck were aluminum water bottle-type containers within a removable plastic lid filled with smokeless powder and improvised pyrotechnic fuse.

“This sentencing reflects the seriousness of these criminal acts in the risk posed to innocent citizens and property by the use of explosives,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge James Yacone.

“The resolution of this case was a result of the outstanding collaborative effort between the FBI, ATF, Lakewood Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Colorado State Patrol to promptly respond, investigate, and bring Lawless to justice.”

Story by: Paula Vargas

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