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Homeless man arrested in pipe bomb scare in downtown Las Vegas

A transient has been arrested in connection with a live pipe bomb found by police in downtown Las Vegas on Tuesday.

Mark Cozza Jr., 56, was booked at the Clark County Detention Center on a single felony count of possession of an explosive device. A Las Vegas police arrest report indicates Cozza’s arrest stems from the pipe bomb discovered in a lot at 8th Street and Mesquite Avenue, which led to the closure of an entire city block for several hours starting at 10 a.m.

Las Vegas police said in the report that officers were carrying out a “homeless clean up initiative” at 8th and Mesquite when an officer noticed a dolly with a refrigerator attached to it in a vacant lot. The officer considered the refrigerator and dolly abandoned. The officer said Cozza then yelled at him from a nearby street, saying he “wanted his tools.”

Moments later, the officer opened the refrigerator.

“He observed what appeared to be a pipe bomb,” police said. “(The officer) stated that the pipe was wrapped in black tape and had a fuse sticking out of the top of the device.”

Cozza was immediately detained by another officer. Police said he allegedly made incriminating statements to an officer about finding the device under a friend’s backpack, then putting it in the refrigerator. Cozza described it to police as an “M-80 wrapped in tape.”

A Las Vegas police armor team, the Las Vegas Fire Department Bomb Squad and counterterrorism investigators were called to the scene because police “believed the device to be a live explosive device.” Police also obtained a search warrant that led to the bomb squad disarming the bomb.

“According to the Las Vegas Bomb Squad, the device, if initiated, may have caused injuries to persons within 70 feete,” police said.

A criminal complaint has not been filed against Cozza, who has been released from custody on his own recognizance with intensive supervision. He is scheduled to appear in a Las Vegas Justice Court courtroom on Wednesday for a status check on whether prosecutors will file formal charges.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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