RENO, Nevada (CNN)
-- A 21-year-old college student suspected in a
wave of pipe bomb incidents
is expected to be arraigned today before
a federal magistrate in Reno,
Nevada, after a night on suicide watch
at the Washoe County Jail, authorities
Lucas John Helder -- sought in connection with 18 mailbox pipe bombs
five states -- was booked Tuesday night on a federal charge of
of a firearm and two federal charges related to bomb
incidents in Iowa.
Helder is expected to be taken from the jail to U.S. District Court
downtown Reno between 9 and 9:30 a.m. MDT, said Washoe County
Nevada authorities stopped Helder on Tuesday afternoon after a
chase along Interstate 80. Pershing County Sheriff Ron
Skinner said Helder
tossed a shotgun out of a car window before
voluntarily giving himself
up. Law enforcement agents found live
explosives in his trunk, Balaam said.
"He was very cooperative," said Skinner, whose deputies pursued
through Pershing County and kept up the chase with federal
Helder pulled over on his own. "I understand that he did
exactly what he
was told during the entire incident after the stop."
Balaam said authorities located Helder originally when he made a pair
cell phone calls and then began negotiations for his surrender.
Helder was turned over to federal authorities. The student threatened
harm himself when he surrendered, prompting the suicide watch,
Six of the bombs in Iowa and Illinois exploded Friday, wounding four
employees and two others.
U.S. Attorney Charles W. Larson in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, charged Helder
two criminal counts. One count charges him with using an
explosive to maliciously
destroy property affecting interstate
commerce. The other accuses him of
using a destructive device to
commit a crime of violence that wounded a
woman when she opened her
roadside mailbox in rural Tipton, Iowa.
The U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois also filed
charges Wednesday against Helder -- the same two as in Iowa.
the student was charged in Nebraska with interstate
transportation of explosives.
Authorities began looking at Helder as a suspect in the mailbox
as a result of two phone calls late Sunday to authorities in
Wisconsin, the college town where he lived.
Menomonie Police Chief Dennis Beety said his department received a
call about 11:10 p.m. Sunday from Helder's father, Cameron
father "called us and said he had received a letter from
his son and the
contents led him to believe his son may be involved,"
After receiving the tip, the FBI issued an all-points bulletin
seeking Lucas Helder for questioning. The FBI alert described
"armed and dangerous" and said he was driving a car with a
On the heels of the alert, the Badger Herald, the official student
of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told authorities
it had received
a letter from Helder postmarked in Omaha, Nebraska,
on Friday, the day
the first pipe bombs were discovered in Illinois
More bombs were found in three other states in subsequent days.
three mailbox bombs were found in Illinois, five in Iowa,
eight in Nebraska,
one in Colorado and one in Texas, according to
Helder was a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie
a member of a three-person rock band called Apathy, investigators
The student newspaper said it turned the letter over to the FBI on
In his letter to the school paper, Helder said, "I will die/change in
end for this, but that's OK, hahaha paradise awaits! I'm
dismissing a few
individuals from reality, to change all of you for
the better, surely you
can understand my logic."
The letter was titled, "Explosions! A Bit of Evidence for You!"
The FBI bulletin was issued the day after the most recent bomb was
Monday afternoon in a curbside mailbox in a residential area of
Texas, with a note containing "anti-government propaganda"
The devices were cylindrical, about 6 inches long, three-quarters of
inch in diameter, with wires attached to a 9-volt battery.
Cameron Helder urged his son Tuesday not to hurt anyone before he
to authorities in Nevada.
Letters with anti-government rhetoric accompanied all the bombs.
Authorities described Helder as "an intelligent young man with strong
Earlier Tuesday, Helder's father, Cameron, issued an emotional appeal
his son to turn himself in.
"Luke is not a dangerous person. He is just trying to make a
the elder Helder told reporters.
Choking back tears at times, the father added, "Luke, you need to
to someone. Please don't hurt anyone else. It's time to talk.
the attention you wanted. We love you very much. We want you
Jennifer Klement, a spokeswoman for the University of
said Helder, whose home is Pine Island, Minnesota,
was an art major with
a concentration in industrial design. The
university, which is west of
Eau Claire, had no record of
disciplinary problems involving Helder.