Car-Bomb Suspect Is "Nicest Guy": Friend

By Paul Krueger, Jeff Nguyen and Michelle Wayland
|  Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010  |  Updated 2:50 PM PDT
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Pipe Bomb Was Source of Explosion

NBCSanDiego

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Pipe Bomb Was Source of Explosion

An explosion that blew a woman from her truck and forced evacuations was caused by a pipe bomb, according to deputies
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A man who's known Larry Hoagland for decades can't believe he would hurt his wife.

Police arrested Hoagland, 48, early Tuesday morning, in connection with a pipe bomb explosion that nearly killed his wife and shook a Rancho San Diego neighborhood. He was arrested just after midnight on Hope Street in La Mesa, according to police.

Werner Kalber, a former business partner of Hoagland's, said Wednesday that he has known the suspect for 30 years. Kalber said he can't believe Hoagland is accused of planting a car bomb that severely injured Connie Hoagland, 52.

"He's the nicest and most honest guy you'd ever know, very religious, very family oriented," Kalber said. "There's no way [he would harm his wife]."

Kalber said he hopes police made a mistake when they charge Hoagland with the attempted murder.

Investigators from multiple agencies uncovered evidence linking Hoagland to the bombing attempt on his wife's life, according to the sheriff's department.

Connie Hoagland, a worker at a residential day care facility in Rancho San Diego, was seriously injured after she got into her truck Thursday afternoon, started the engine and the pipe bomb exploded.

Neighbors on the 12000 block of Via Hacienda heard a "boom" around 4:15 p.m. Residents living in two dozen homes on the street were forced to evacuate.

"I don't know why they would be targeted," said neighbor Brandi Smith. "Really nice people, always friendly, always having family barbecues. I can't imagine why anyone would do anything to her. She's a really nice lady.”

Another pipe bomb was recently found near the victim's home, investigators said. It's not clear if the incidents are related.

Connie was taken to the UCSD Burn Center, where she was rushed into surgery and treated for severe burns.

Court records show the Hoaglands have filed for bankruptcy, and a hearing in that case was held in federal court last week. The couple is $500,000 in debt and is trying to avoid foreclosure on their Rolando home, according to the documents.

Court documents show that Larry Hoagland is part-owner of a local photography business in the Morena area called Professional Photographic Services. He is due in court on Thursday.

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