San Diego

Man Enters Power Plant in Stolen Van, Claims It Contains Explosives

Erik Jon Norman, 27, was arrested at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station on Tuesday afternoon

A man was arrested at a power plant north of San Diego County on Tuesday when he drove a stolen delivery van into a restricted area and told security guards that the van was filled with explosives.

Erik Jon Norman, 27, made his way onto the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) on Old Pacific Highway, south of San Onofre State Beach, just before 4:25 p.m.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) said Norman, unauthorized to enter the power plant, drove past an entrance gate and into a restricted parking area before being detected by security. He was in a white delivery van that had been reported stolen earlier in the day out of Oceanside.

Maureen Brown, of SONGS, told NBC 7 Norman entered through the south gate of the plant -- an entrance that's seldom used. Several security officers were at the gate and asked him for some kind of identification. Norman accelerated and the guards yelled for him to stop, which he did.

The SDSO said Norman was detained and questioned by security guards. He told the guards the van contained electronic equipment and possible explosives.

Deputies were called to the power plant to investigate the claims, along with officials with the SDSO’s Bomb/Arson Unit. The investigation determined the van was only filled with standard shipping parcels and didn’t pose a danger.

As a result of the incident, San Onofre experienced a one-hour period of "heightened awareness," Brown said.

No one was hurt in the incident.

Brown said there are multiple checkpoints at SONGS. Norman never reached the concrete barrier into the plant.

She said security guards at the power plant are armed and trained to deal with anyone attempting to gain access to the facility. Brown said the power plant is also outfitted with cameras and systems that protect it against "radiological sabotage."

"The San Onofre security officers did an excellent job preventing unauthorized access to San Onofre," Brown said in an email to NBC 7. "Their actions reinforce the robust security that remains in place as we prepare to decommission San Onofre."

Norman was arrested and booked into the Vista Detention Facility on one count of vehicle theft. Booking records show he is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

No further details were immediately released.

Contact Us