Shelby County Jail evacuated after incendiary devices found


December 19th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Residents in a one-block radius of the Shelby County Jail in Harlan were evacuated Sunday evening, after authorities discovered an incendiary device on a suspect being booked into the jail. The Sheriff’s Office reports the device was discovered as 42-year old Alan Heath, of Harlan, was being booked into the jail on a charge of 5th degree theft.

Officials say deputies removed the device and placed it in the driveway of the jail. An evacuation of the area was conducted by Harlan Police and Fire Department personnel, and the Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Office was called-in to evaluate the device. During a search of Heath’s backpack, a second incendiary device was found. The Fire Marshal Office determined both devices were safe enough to be transported out of the City to be examined and destroyed.

Authorities subsequently searched Heath’s residence at 402 Broadway Street, in Harlan, but did not find any other such devices. In addition to the theft charge, Heath now faces charges which include: Interference with Official Acts (Simple Misdemeanor); Felony Possession of an Offensive Weapon; and, 2 counts of Possession of an Explosive or Incendiary Device.

Heath was being held in the Shelby County Jail on $5,000 bond.