In the late evening hours last Friday, four Oregon men, one of which was a registered sex offender, and one of which was an ex-convict, were detained after Pacific County Sheriff Scott Johnson witnessed an explosion in the 5700 block of U.S. 101. The Sheriff was stopping to check out an old Aerostar van that appeared suspicious and that he knew did not belong in the driveway where it was parked.
Arrested was Toby A. LaTour, 32, of Tillamook, Oregon, on one count of Malicious Mischief III degree. The act appears to have been random, and the owners of the mailbox were not targeted by the suspect.
While Sheriff Johnson was pulling in behind the vehicle, a large explosion occurred. Sheriff Johnson described a bright orange explosion with smoke and debris 30-50 feet in the air. The van then sped off. After stopping the van and conducting an investigation with Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Davis, it was determined that the four occupants of the van had stopped along the highway and one of them placed an explosive device in the mailbox of some local residents. Unfortunately for them, they were unaware that Sheriff Scott Johnson was pulling in behind them at this time.
Sheriff Johnson said, “They’re lucky they had pulled ahead a few feet before they saw me or it probably would have blown the side windows out of their van”.
The mangled metal mailbox was located about 30 feet from the post it was mounted on.