'Suspicious objects' found at Clarence property

CLARENCE — Federal and local authorities spent several hours Monday searching a property in Clarence for homemade explosives, and they detonated a few suspicious objects found there.

Lt. Pat Duffy of the Ford County Sheriff’s Office said a Crimestoppers tip prompted the search at 104 N. Main St., a property that Duffy said is owned by JonMichael O’Neil.

The anonymous tipster indicated there might be some explosives and other homemade devices at the property, Duffy said.

Duffy declined to specify what was found, but he did say authorities found “a couple of bags in a small shed in the back of the property,” and they also located “one suspicious object” that was neutralized by the University of Illinois Bomb Squad.

Duffy, who left the scene around 9 p.m. Monday after several hours of investigation, said one of his deputies told him Tuesday morning that they had “located some other suspicious materials and detonated those” on Tuesday morning, as well.

Duffy was not sure if any arrests had been made. As of late Monday night, Duffy said “it was not in the plans to arrest anyone at that time.”

“The homeowners, the occupants, were very cooperative,” Duffy noted.

In addition to the UI Bomb Squad and Ford County Sheriff’s Office, assisting at the scene were Rankin firefighters, Carle Ambulance personnel, FBI agents and agents for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Duffy referred additional questions to an FBI investigator who works out of Champaign. The investigator did not immediately return a message from the Ford County Record on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old O’Neil, the owner of the property in Clarence, was arrested by Paxton police on Feb. 10 for aggravated driving on a revoked driver’s license and was ticketed for driving on a revoked driver’s license and possession of 10 or fewer grams of cannabis.

Location (3):Local, Paxton, Ford County


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