Suspicious Device at Pasadena U-Haul Facility That Triggered Evacuations Was Container for Hiding Drugs: Police

A man was arrested after a suspicious device located at a Pasadena U-Haul facility turned out be a container to hide drugs, police said Tuesday.

Pasadena police released this photo of a plastic container found at the suspect’s residence.

Pasadena police released this photo of a plastic container found at the suspect’s residence.

Officers initially responded to the 500 block of South Raymond Avenue around 5:40 p.m. Monday after a device made to look like an explosive was found under a truck at the facility, according to Pasadena Police Department officials.

A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department bomb squad was called to the scene, and two to three square blocks of surrounding businesses and residences were evacuated. The U-Haul business is in the same block as the headquarters of public radio station KPCC, which was included in the evacuations.

Hours later, the device was rendered safe.

The bomb squad discovered the item was actually just an empty plastic container that was affixed to the truck with magnets when they tried to detonate it, police Lt. Jason Clawson told KTLA on Tuesday morning.

No other devices were located.

After the potential threat was over, investigators worked to track down the last person who rented the U-Haul vehicle, which led them to 34-year-old Theodore Bancarz, Clawson said.

Police detained Bancarz on two outstanding warrants. He told them he had nothing to do with a possible explosive device or bomb threat, but allegedly admitted to hiding his drugs and drug paraphernalia in containers like the one found on Monday, according to the lieutenant.

A search of the Glendale man's home uncovered another plastic container that was attached to magnets, Clawson said. Drugs and drug paraphernalia were also allegedly found there by police.

Investigators think the container became stuck to the U-Haul that was returned.

Bancarz was arrested in connection with two misdemeanor drug warrants, according to police.

He has since been released on his own recognizance, according to Clawson.

Bancarz is due in court next January.

KTLA's Jennifer Thang contributed to this story.