Man charged after reporting his own bomb threat, Marietta police say

Feb. 27—An Alabama man was arrested Saturday after police say he reported a bomb that was in his own truck at a Marietta shopping center.

Robert Devlin, 37, is believed to have placed the 911 call that led to local and federal authorities converging on the East Gate Shopping Plaza at 1800 Lower Roswell Road. The bomb was ultimately found to be inoperable.

Police said they received the report of an explosive device shortly after 8 a.m., and found Devlin at the scene.

"Based on the circumstances and statements made by Devlin, officers determined the threat to be credible and immediately began evacuating the area," Officer Chuck McPhilamy said in a news release.

Devlin was arrested without incident and the area was evacuated, police said.

Members of the Cobb County Police Department's bomb squad, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), and FBI responded to the shopping center. Around noon, they recovered a device that resembled a pipe bomb from Devlin's truck.

Later that day, however, Cobb police determined that while the device contained explosives, it lacked the mechanism necessary "to be considered a fully assembled explosive device." The area was reopened around 3 p.m.

Federal authorities declined to take over the investigation, police said. Devlin has been charged with misdemeanor counts of making a false report and possessing a hoax explosive device, as well as making a false public alarm, which is a felony.

Devlin is being held at the Cobb County jail on a $60,000 bond.

"The investigation remains open, and it is unclear why he traveled to Marietta, or called 911 on himself," McPhilamy said. "Anyone with information is urged to contact MPD Detective Bollinger at 770-794-5345."