Former ASU Prof Carlos Balsas being held in Philadelphia
A report in the Philadelphia Inquirer identifies former Arizona State University professor Carlos J. Balsas as the suspect who threatened to blow up the Liberty Bell early Saturday. He told a security guard who searched his backpack at the Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia that he was carrying explosives.
“I have explosives in there,” he stated, before fleeing. U.S. Park Rangers arrested the uncooperative Balsas, 41, after a brief struggle.
According to the news article, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Philadelphia police bomb squad reported to the scene. Tests on the backpacks (two others were found) came back negative for explosives.
Balsas, a Tempe resident who taught at ASU from 2004 to 2011 faces charges of terrorism threats, bomb threats, possessing an instrument of crime, reckless endangerment, and related offenses. The joint investigation was carried out by the Philadelphia Police and FBI. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is expected to take over the investigation today
The Liberty Bell, originally cast in 1752, is an iconic symbol of American independence.
Read the complete news report here. In this news video, a neighbor says she was frightened by his aggressive behavior and was considering filing a restraining order against Balsas. She had previously reported him to the Tempe Police Department based on interaction with him. Her uncle threatened to call the Department of Homeland Security.
Balsas taught at ASU’s Global Institute for Sustainability. Students rating Balsas gave him a mediocre grade, citing him as boring and his class so easy it wasn‘t worth the tedium of sitting through.
$250,000 bail set in Liberty Bell bomb threat
According to the District Attorney’s Office Carlos Balsas is being held on a quarter of a million dollars bail. He is scheduled for a court appearance February 1, 2013.
Balsas’ Criminal Case file can be seen here.