An Independence man pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to placing a hoax bomb on a city bus.
Scott Gene Bradley, 37, of Independence, admitted placing a suspicious-looking package designed to look like an explosive device on an IndeBus vehicle in August of last year. The device was a black lock box with a cell phone taped to the top and a wire running from the cell phone into the interior of the metal box.
Bradley faces a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing will be at a later date.
The IndeBus driver found a reusable fabric grocery bag under a rear passenger seat on Aug. 10. Thinking a rider had misplaced their belongings, the driver placed the bag at the front of the bus without looking inside the bag.
After completing her shift on that Saturday, the driver left the bag on the bus but forgot to report it. When she returned to work the following Monday she was assigned to a different bus and failed to report it.
A second driver drove that bus the following week. On Aug. 15, when exiting the bus at the end of the day, the second driver noticed the bag. Believing it belonged to another driver or a passenger, the driver put the bag in the bus maintenance area and left for a meeting.
The next morning on Aug. 16, personnel in the maintenance department discovered the bag. One person who had military experience recognized the device as a possible improvised explosive device. A worker removed the bag from the building and placed it in the parking area and the maintenance personnel notified police.
After several hours of examining the device, the Independence police bomb squad and FBI bomb technicians determined the package was a hoax device. Police then determined that the phone taped to the top belonged to Bradley.
While being interviewed, Bradley told police he put the fake device on the bus because he was frustrated with several aspects of his life, including how the IndeBus did not run on schedule. He told police he also had created a second hoax device that he intended to place in a U.S. Postal Service slot at a grocery store to disrupt the U.S. mail. He said he failed to go forward with that plan because he discovered that the grocery store’s mail area had surveillance cameras.