WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — A man accused of setting off an explosive last week in Williamsburg had previously worked for Colonial Williamsburg, investigators say.
Investigators confirmed Monday evening that Stephen Powers was an employee of Colonial Williamsburg until September 2017. Last week, he was reportedly working as an independent contractor.
Maj. Greg Riley with Williamsburg police confirmed to 10 On Your Side police were checking a building in Merchants Square on Monday where Stephen Powers had performed maintenance work last week. Nothing was found in the search Monday evening.
People who work in the building were concerned Powers may have left something there, and called police. The Williamsburg Fire Department was also alerted to the area for a heat sensor alarm in an HVAC system.
A building that houses a few business was evacuated, according to Riley. The scene was cleared within about an hour.
A nearby church where Powers is said to have attended a recent event also reached out to police over the weekend. Officers searched that property and found nothing.
The scene on Monday was one block from where an improvised explosive device (IED) was set off in a parking lot that is not too far from William & Mary’s campus.
The detonation happened around 5 p.m. Thursday, near the intersection of South Boundary Street and Francis Street. No one was hurt, and police believe it was an isolated incident.
Police charged Powers, of Gloucester, with several felonies, including committing an act of terrorism. It’s unclear how Powers may have made the device or why it was planted in that area in Williamsburg.
Monday’s investigation at Merchants Square was the same day as Powers’ initial appearance in court — where a judge denied him bond.
“We had some information that led us his way, I can’t go into details,” Riley said.
Williamsburg police have not commented further about the terrorism charge against Powers, but it is believed to be the first time anyone has been charged with that type of felony in the city.
According to state law, the felony carries a sentence of 20 years to life in prison. A court appointed attorney will be representing Powers.
10 On Your Side went to Powers’ home. No one was there. Neighbors spoke to us, but not on camera. One said Powers kept to himself and they didn’t know him too well.