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Man arrested in Petaluma explosives find


The Sonoma County sheriff's bomb squad detonated at least two explosive devices at a Petaluma home early Tuesday and Petaluma police arrested one of the occupants.

FBI agents also responded to the Ely Road area subdivision in northeastern Petaluma.

"We're calling more FBI out to take a better look at the suspect's history, based upon items found inside the residence," said Petaluma Lt. Tim Lyons, who declined to describe the items except to say they were illegal.

"They're (FBI) looking at the whole incident, making sure there's nothing else to this," Lyons said.

Petaluma firefighters also joined the investigation, called in to deal with hazardous materials found, including some of the ingredients for explosives, Lyons said.

The explosive devices found apparently were pipe bombs. Two contained explosive material while a third did not.

Officers evacuated nearby homes to the Quarry Street residence Monday night when a suspicious device first was discovered.

Quarry Street was closed overnight and remained so Tuesday morning.

It's a route to nearby Corona Creek Elementary School and police notified school officials of the incident so they could alert families to use another path to school, Lyons said.

"We evacuated a couple of nearby houses as a precaution," Lyons said. "There is no danger to the school."

The incident began at about 5:30 p.m. Monday when officers were called to the Quarry Street home regarding a despondent man, later identified at Ismail Moylan, 30, who was thought to be armed with a gun.

Officers unsuccessfully tried to contact Moylan by phone and then used a bull horn to get him to come outside. After about an hour he surrendered without an incident and was taken into custody.

Officers found a handgun inside the home, as well as what looked like a pipe bomb in the garage, prompting the bomb squad investigation Monday evening.

The bomb experts confirmed the item was explosive and Petaluma detectives obtained a warrant for a more extensive search.

At about 4 a.m. the bomb squad entered the home in full protective gear and removed the devices.

All three were detonated outside the residence.

Neighbors reported hearing two blasts followed a bit later by a third.

Some woke from the noise. Others said police officers knocked on their doors before dawn to alert them to the coming blasts and to tell them to stay away from windows.

"Somebody yelled 'fire in the hole,'" said one woman, who declined to give her name. She said she jumped at the sound of the blast, spilling her mug of hot chocolate.

With police activity in their front yards, some neighbors stood outside Tuesday morning, visiting and watching. Police cars and traffic cones blocked the road to through traffic and two police officers manned the roadblock.

The 15-year-old neighborhood is full of two- and single-story homes, neat yards and residents who say they are typically a friendly bunch who try to keep in touch with each other.

Some said the residents of the Moylan house weren't so friendly, didn't respond to waves or "hellos" and generated curiosity in the neighborhood over the years.

Moylan's family were original owners, neighbors said. They believed he lived with his mother and perhaps other family members.

"Everybody has been wondering about that house," said one woman, who declined to give her name.

Mike Silva, who lives in a nearby neighborhood, walked up Tuesday morning to learn more about what was happening.

He said his family got an automated call from his children's school, Meadow Elementary, which is just south of Corona Creek Elementary. The notice said the road was closed due to police activity.

"It shows you the sort of activities that can occur in our own back yards," said Silva, after getting updated.

Petaluma officers arrested Moylan on suspicion of illegal possession of a prescription drug while investigators continued to develop information on the explosive devices.