The Phoenix Bomb Squad defused a possible bomb outside a grocery store on Monday afternoon after a man stopped for shoplifting dropped the suspicious object.
Joel Gelnett, 36, was arrested at Fry’s Grocery Store near 44th Street and Thomas Road after employees stopped him for leaving with unpaid food, police said.
Gelnett dropped two bags when he was confronted by employees and an object that police described as a pipe bomb fell out.
Police said the object had several wires connected to a battery.
The food store’s workers became suspicious of Gelnett because he walked into the store with a bag and was acting suspiciously, police said.
The bomb squad evacuated the store and destroyed the device at the site.
Police said they aren’t sure yet if the device was capable of exploding. But Gelnett told police that he made it look like a bomb, but it wasn’t real.
Gelnett was charged with felony theft and will face more charges after further investigation.