Docs: Man accused of making pipe bomb in Williamsburg detonation

Stephen Powers (Williamsburg Police Department)

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — Court documents reveal a man suspected of setting off an explosive device in Williamsburg is accused of making a pipe bomb.

The court paperwork shows Stephen Powers came into investigators’ view on Oct. 11 — more than a week before the device, an improvised explosive device (IED), was detonated in a Williamsburg parking lot.

Williamsburg fire crews responded to smoke coming from a maintenance office. Powers told them he went to inspect it, but no explosive device was found.

Documents say that tor the next few days, Powers alerted police to different messages he found on the maintenance office door.

READ: Search Warrant for Stephen Powers

The first note Powers told police he found read, “I am sorry my device didn’t work-D.” The second note he reported to police referenced a biblical term, “Adramelech.” In interviews, police said Powers told them he knew what it referenced.

The court documents show that Powers told police it was a term he had heard while deployed in Iraq. He told an investigator only people who served with him would know the meaning. However, he told police, everyone who served with him had died or gone to jail; be cause he had testified against them.

The court paper work showed that a federal official ran a background check on Stephen Powers’ military record. It found that he was never deployed in Iraq and had served as a military civilian.

The scene in Merchant Square in Williamsburg Oct. 23, 2017. Police were checking a building where Stephen Powers did maintenance work. Powers is accused of setting off an IED in Williamsburg. (WAVY Photo/Matt Gregory).

On Oct. 19, a pipe bomb hidden under some mulch was detonated in the parking lot, which is not too far from William & Mary’s campus. Police found frayed wires from an extension cord and tree lights where the explosion occurred.

Police questioned Powers because of the two prior incidents, and found holes in his story, according to the documents.

Powers told officers on the day of the explosion he was traveling past Williamsburg to pick up his wife. However, an investigator found his wife worked in the opposite direction of where Powers traveled.

At Powers’ home in Gloucester, police found what they described as bomb-making materials. Officers wrote that they found an “end cap” with a logo on it attached to a pipe in the kitchen. An “end cap” of the same design was found near the blast in Williamsburg.

The documents state that Powers denied this, saying the materials found were for a homemade shotgun he was working on making.

The same paperwork reports that Powers told police his credit card been stolen, days before the explosion. He reported that he found a purchase for $120 on there he did not make.

Officers looked into the alleged illegal purchase and found it had been made at Bass Pro shop in Hampton, Va. An officer went to the location to look at surveillance video.

They found Stephen Powers and his 1 year old son walking into the store that day. According to the paperwork Powers made the $120 purchase. It was for smokeless powder.

According to the report, police determined Powers had made multiple fabrications in his story and made him their primary suspect.

Powers has been charged with several felonies, including committing an act of terrorism.

Police and fire crews checked a building on Merchants Square Monday — a block from the Oct. 19 detonation — after a heat sensor alarm went off and workers there expressed concerns Powers may have left something.

The building was evacuated, but nothing was found after crews completed a sweep. Powers had reportedly performed maintenance work on this building last week as an independent contractor.

Investigators confirmed Monday that Powers had been employed with Colonial Williamsburg until September 2017. Powers was denied bond in a court hearing Monday, and is being represented by a court-appointed attorney.