A mall security guard has been arrested after police said he planted a fake bomb and called in multiple bomb hoaxes to two San Diego County malls.
Security guard Abraham Nava, 21, called 911 on Sept. 12 to say he had found what he believed to be a bomb inside a bathroom at the Carlsbad Westfield Mall, according to Carlsbad police.
Several stores evacuated while a sheriff’s bomb team investigated. Investigators eventually determined the device was not a threat.
But as Carlsbad detectives looked into the case, they discovered Nava has made many similar reports in the past. Nava has called the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department three times since 2012, saying he found suspicious devices outside his apartment, according to investigators.
He also called 911 to report a suspected pipe bomb while working at Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego, according to Carlsbad police. Detectives tied Nava to reports of graffiti at Horton Plaza that described where explosives were placed and when they were set to go off.
Nava reported finding graffiti on Sept. 18 at the Carlsbad mall that threatened a shooting would happen that day, police said.
All the reports turned out to be unfounded.
On Wednesday, a Carlsbad detective questioned Nava, who confessed to planting the fake bomb and reporting the hoax on Sept. 12. He also admitted to writing the graffiti at both malls, according to police.
When Nava gave his consent, officers searched his home, but they did not discover any explosives. Nava complained of chest pain while at the police department, so officers took him to the hospital for an evaluation.
He will later be booked into Vista Jail on suspicion of placing a false bomb, criminal threats and commercial burglary.