Anthony Todd Saxon was dressed in an Army combat uniform, including rank and other insignia, when he walked into the Fort Gordon military police office Tuesday and told the captain in charge that he was a master sergeant with the 82nd Airborne Division and needed an infrared-aiming laser for training, according to an affidavit supporting the arrest warrant.
After his arrest, authorities found several grenades, a land mine, several night vision devices and the infrared-aiming laser.
Richmond County bomb squad technicians detonated one of the devices as a precaution, authorities said at a news conference held Wednesday morning at the Fort Gordon Law Enforcement Center.
At least two of the grenades were the nonlethal "flash-bang" variety and three other devices were harmless, said Col. Glenn Kennedy, Fort Gordon's garrison commander.
"The majority of devices were inert," Kennedy said. "They wouldn't have exploded any more than the cushion in your car would have exploded."
A flash-bang grenade is a nonlethal stun grenade designed to disorient with blinding light and loud noise.
Chief Willie McClinton, of the Fort Gordon Directorate of Emergency Services, would not identify Saxon, but indicated that he was a suspect in a theft from the post in April. A member of the community alerted police Tuesday after recognizing Saxon's vehicle from the previous theft, and Saxon was apprehended near the Directorate of Logistics building on 15th Street.
"Their vigilance led to a safe conclusion of a potential serious incident," McClinton said.
McClinton said nonexplosive "military equipment" was stolen in the April incident but would not elaborate.
Asked how Saxon was able to get onto post when he was a suspect in a recent crime, McClinton said Saxon went through the regular screening process and was not flagged because authorities had only a partial description of the vehicle and a partial license plate number. Before Tuesday, McClinton said they did not have a description of the suspect in the April theft.
He did not anticipate changing the security level of the post. "We will continue with the same security posture right now for our day-to-day activities," McClinton said.