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Petaluma man found with pipe bombs charged with felonies

Police and fire officials investigate Moylan's Quarry Street residence.

Scott Manchester/ Argus-Courier Staff
Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 8:53 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 8:53 a.m.

A Petaluma man who was arrested on suspicion on possessing pipe bombs at his Quarry Street home was charged Wednesday with three felonies carrying a maximum six-year prison sentence.

Ismail Moylan, 30, was arrested Monday after officers responded to a call of a suicidal man with a gun. Police said they discovered two live and two partially made devices which were later detonated by the bomb squad.

Moylan, who is also known as Ismail Al-Jamal, was booked into Sonoma County jail on $1 million bail. He was charged with possession of an explosive device, possession of materials to make a device and reckless possession of explosive devices in an inhabited area, prosecutor Bud McMahon said.

Moylan was unable to come to court for medical reasons. Judge Jamie Thistlethwaite ordered him to appear Thursday afternoon for a possible plea.

“He needs to be arraigned,” she said. “We're going to get him into court and tell him what his charges are.”

His mother and father attended Wednesday's hearing with two other people. They declined to comment.

A lawyer for Moylan, Mike Li, said his client has had thoughts of suicide but couldn't speculate about if or why he had pipe bombs.

Moylan has lived in the subdivision near Corona Road for about 15 years, said neighbors. He manages a family-run religious publishing company from his home called Sidi Muhammad Press, according to the company's website.

“I would encourage people not to jump to conclusions simply because of the type of charges and the fact that he has a Middle Eastern-sounding name,” Li said.

Petaluma Police Lt. Tim Lyons said officers had been to Moylan's home last summer after a neighbor reported that someone was burning things in the backyard.

The neighbor called dispatchers on July 31 at 2:33 a.m. to report a funny smell and said a propane tank was nearby, he said. Police and firefighters responded, but Moylan was not arrested or cited at that time, Lyons said. Further details about how the situation was resolved weren't immediately available, he said.

Petaluma police investigators and an FBI crime scene evidence collection team finished searching the home late Tuesday, Lyons said. The explosive devices, while dangerous, were not particularly sophisticated, Lyons said.

“They were explosive devices, but they were not devices that could have caused mass harm to a neighborhood or anything on that scale,” Lyons said.

FBI agents assisted in the investigation at the request of police, said FBI Special Agent Peter Lee.

“We have no reason to believe this is terrorism related. There is no threat to public safety at this time,” Lee said. “The concern is the subject's mental health.”

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