NASHVILLE — Friday night, the SBI director refuted a claim by the Nash County Sheriff that the bureau is investigating two sheriff's deputies accused of exploding homemade bombs in front of several local police departments.
Nash County Sheriff Jimmy Grimes said that he wanted to avoid any appearance of favoritism, so he spoke with the District Attorney and called in the SBI to investigate.
"The D.A. said he would write the SBI a letter requesting them to handle the investigation," Grimes said. "It will be up to them if they handle it, and we'll go from that point."
However, SBI director Jim Comen said that he has not received a request of any kind. He also said that he was angry with Grimes for claiming that the SBI was in charge of the investigation. He says it makes the SBI look like it is dragging its feet.
Grimes said he called the SBI because there were three or four other agencies involved in the allegations.
In this case, there was the additional incentive. "We called the SBI [because] ... we felt that way nobody could say we covered up anything or showed any partiality towards any employee," Grimes says.
Grimes says he wants the SBI to complete its probe before he takes any action against Sgt. Steve Lamb or Deputy Pat Cooper, even if it takes longer.
Not everyone agrees justice is worth waiting for. "The two deputies entered the police department and set off an explosive device next to the microwave," Middlesex Police Sgt. Pat Ridgway says.
Ridgway says the action against the two deputies should be swift and fierce.
Lamb and Cooper are accused of setting off several bombs made from household materials. The two allegedly set them off as a prank to scare officers in other departments around the county.
The bombs did little physical damage, but made a lot of noise.
Spring Hope Police Chief Wayne Lamb says a bottle exploded outside his department as well, but that a report was never filed. Lamb agrees the explosions were just a prank.
Grimes says pranks like this have happened across the country for years. He says the incidents have never received attention like this, and suggests the upcoming elections may have something to do with the publicity.