Airport Bomb Suspect Seized in Long Beach

Times Staff Writer

A 38-year-old Palos Verdes Peninsula man accused of planting a pipe bomb at Reno's Cannon International Airport was arrested by FBI agents Wednesday on the campus of California State University, Long Beach.

A spokesman for the FBI said Roger Dale Stockham was unarmed and was taken into custody without incident. He declined to say what led agents to Stockham or what the suspect was doing on the campus.

Stockham, who has a history of mental problems, waived extradition at a hearing before U.S. District Court Magistrate James. W. McMahon in Los Angeles late Wednesday and was ordered held without bail for return to Nevada to answer charges.

He was picked up on a warrant issued by a federal magistrate in Reno last Friday, charging him with planting a destructive device at an aircraft facility and with possession of a destructive device.

Stockham is accused of planting the bomb at the airport last Thursday. It was discovered by a janitor, who found the device in a trash can, wrapped in brown paper.

About 200 people were evacuated from the terminal and traffic was rerouted while a bomb squad dismantled the device. Shortly before the bomb was discovered, an editor at the Reno Gazette-Journal reported receiving a telephone call from a man claiming responsibility for the bomb. The caller identified himself as Roger Hemahidin, a name similar to false names used by Stockham in the past, according to the FBI.

Stockham, described as an unemployed veteran, has a record of bizarre behavior, including the abduction of his son from a foster home and trying to hijack an airliner to take them to Iran in 1979. While free on bail in that case, he was arrested on suspicion of having set fire to oil storage facilities at Point Conception.

While in Patton State Hospital, he was accused of threatening then-President Jimmy Carter and others by mail. In 1981 he escaped while under evaluation at a Veterans Administration Hospital in San Bernardino and was at large for four months.

Stockham could receive a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both if convicted of the charges he faces in Nevada federal court, FBI spokesman John Hoos said Wednesday.

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