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Warrant details how a note in a safe helped Roanoke County police identify a suspected bomb-maker

Christopher Kimberling turned himself in to police about a week after the IED was found

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – “These devices are consistent with what has been used to attack police during riots in the past.”

That’s how a search warrant executed on Sept. 3 described what authorities found inside a safe at a Roanoke County apartment on Aug. 31, 2020.

Maintenance workers at the Villages at Garst Creek apartments found the safe and cut it open, according to the warrant.

Inside, they found an IED, a military-style flare, several large illegal fireworks with the fuse cut short, 450 grams of suspected marijuana and a torn piece of paper from a notepad with “Lyon” and a phone number written on it.

Police determined that the piece of paper was from a National Park Service Ranger Lyon.

In talking to Lyon, he told authorities that he conducted a traffic stop on Christopher Kimberling on Dec. 2, 2019.

At that time, Kimberling did not have any identification on him and Lyon wrote down Kimberling’s name and social security number, then ripped part of that page out of his notebook, giving Kimberling his name and phone number.

In connection with that incident, Kimberling arrested for a DUI and had weapons seized from his vehicle, according to the warrant.

After talking with Lyon, police determined that Kimberling had been using an address within the apartment complex, although he was not on the lease.

Inside the IED was an explosive three times stronger than an M80, according to the warrant.

The purpose of the warrant was to search the apartment more for “further evidence related to the making of this IED, including more IED’s, IED building material including explosives, ignition sources, instructions for making explosives and cell phones and computers which may have internet searches or communication about building explosives,” according to the warrant.

Police also believe that with the large amount of suspected marijuana in the safe, either Kimberling or someone else living in the apartment is selling the drug.

Kimberling turned himself in on Sept. 8, about a week after the incident.


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